The importance of Cork Oak
The Cork Oak (Quercus Suber L.) is a tree belonging to the Oak family from which Cork is extracted. Its value is based not only on the products extracted from the tree, but on all of the agricultural, forest, pastoral and hunting activities that revolve around the cultivation of the Cork Oak.
Regular extraction of the Cork (a process called stripping) is a fundamental contribution for environmental, economic and social sustainability in the rural areas of the Mediterranean region where the Cork Oak may be found.
The Cork tree is a slow growing tree, which may live for 200 years, which allows it, on average, to be stripped 16 times during its lifetime. The first extraction of cork from the Cork Oak tree occurs only 25 years after planting, following which it is harvested in 9 year cycles, without ever damaging the tree in any way. This method allows the cork oak forest to fulfill its role of fixing CO2, thus actively contributing to reduce global warming.
The Cork forest in Portugal (700.000 hectares), known as "Montado", is a typical Iberian Landscape which is key in supporting a natural bio-diversity, including some of the most endangered species in the world: Iberian Lynxes, Imperial Eagles', Black Storks, Wolves and Wild Bears.