From Pagans and Christians, by Robert Lane Fox:
Christians, by contrast, were soon to practice some determined felling at either end of the Mediterranean. St. Martin was remembered for killing some great old trees in Gaul, and in the east, in the sixth century, John of Ephesus made several assault on Asia’s sacred timber. The triumph of Christianity was accomplished by the sound of the axe on age-old arboreta.
This is from a section of the book on the mystery cults and how they were obsessed with maintaining gardens and obsessed with “nature”. He writes “Decrees were concerned with replanting as well as preservation, for almost every cult aspired to rural sanctity, and nowhere was gardening more devoted.”
Christianity countered and destroyed this mentality. Christianity seems to have been a civilizing force well into the past.