Cork Products & Oak Forest in Portugal, 5 facts your probably didn’t know.


  1. The cork oak is a legally protected species

The cork oak and cork are the crown jewel of portuguese agro-forestry activity. A symbol of Portugal, it is here it rises to their maximum exponent of creativity.

The cork oak whose scientific name is quercus suba  is a Mediterranean  species with unique characteristics on the planet. The bark which we call cork has truly  prodigious qualities and it is harvested without cutting or damaging the tree allowing it to live for more than 200 years. The cork oak is a legally protected species.

 

  1. Oak forest is one of the richest ecosystems in the world


    50% percent of the cork produced in the world comes from Portugal, but oak forest is also one of the richest ecosystems in the world and one of 36 global biodiversity hotspots, is as well home to hundreds of species some of which are in danger of extinction such as the iberian lynx and the imperial iberian eagle.

Furthermore the oak forest is our main ally in fighting against climate change and the most effective barrier to prevent desertification in the Mediterranean basin - the region of europe most vulnerable to global warming.

 

 

  1. In a small country as Portugal, more than 100.000 depends of the cork products industry

The cork industry is the economic and social pillar of vast regions, in
addition to providing the settlement populations it generates jobs for more than 100.000 people. Cork extraction is the highest paid  agricultural work in the world due to the specialization need to work with this material.

 

  1. The cellular structure of cork is highly complex

    The cellular structure of cork is truly unique: eac: cubic centimetre of cork contains 40 million cells. The secret lies in its chemical composition formed by tiny cells in the form of a honeycomb which are filled with an air-like gas and coated with suberin.
The cork bark is harvested every nine years and then subjected to a long production cycle. At first it has to rest for a stabilization period of several months before entering a remarkable industrial process where human knowledge and technology merge perfectly.




5.The cork industry perfectly illustrates the concept of a circular economy


In the production of cork stoppers which represents around 70 percent of the sector's exports, certain important steps stand out such as: boiling, stripping, punching, selection and marking. The cork that is not used in stoppers is granulated and later agglomerated giving rise to many other applications as wall coverings, floors and insulation technical applications, fashion (as cork bags or shoes, sports (ex: cork yoga mats), transports are just a few examples.

The cork industry perfectly illustrates the concept of a circular economy in which nothing is lost and everything is transformed even cork dust is used to produce energy and end-of-life products re-enter the process through recycling Portugal is the world leader providing 60 of the industry's world exports in an amount exceeding 1 billion euros it generates more than 8 000 jobs in about 600 companies mainly concentrated in the Santa Maria de Feira region and all this without damaging a single tree, choose cork for you and for the planet.

*this text was is inspired by the video of APCOR - Realcork. The full video can be found here:


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