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CORK

SUSTAINABILITY OF CORK

"With the innovative impulse that characterizes and distinguishes us from all other companies in the industry, we have been pioneers in the development and innovation of the cork industry."

Antˇnio Rios de Amorim
Chairman of the Board of Directors CORTICEIRA AMORIM, S.G.P.S., S.A.

The importance of the cork oak tree

The Cork Oak (Quercus Suber L.) is a tree of the oak family, from which is extracted the cork (bark or protective cover on the tree that plays the role of the epidermis). Its value is not based only on products extracted from the tree, but throughout the agronomic, forestry, hunting and forestry-pastoral set that goes around the culture of the cork oak. The regular extraction of cork from cork oak tree is a fundamental contribution to the ecological, economic and social sustainability of rural areas of the Mediterranean region where cork oak tree can be found.

The process of extraction of cork is called stripping, a highly specialized process environmentally friendly, which ensures that the tree is not damaged. The cork oak is a slow-growing tree that can reach 200 years, allowing an average of 17 harvests throughout his life.

Climate changes

The exploration of the montado is largely made viable by the activity of CORTICEIRA Amorim and has a positive impact on carbon sequestration. The cork oak is an important carbon sink, helping to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases, cause of climate change. With an average of about 200 years, the cork trees are responsible only in Portugal, retaining five million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Biodiversity

Habitat of 135 species of plants and 42 species of birds, the cork oak forest is the basis of a unique ecological system in the world, contributing to the survival of many species of native fauna and to safeguarding the environment. This ecosystem includes several species of ants, bees, butterflies and reptiles, as well as the Iberian lynx, the most critically endangered feline species in the planet. Another highlight is the high variety of birds, some of them also threatened, as is the case of the black vulture, black stork or the imperial eagle.

Fighting desertification

In 2020, in a scenario of inadequate forest management of cork oak tree forests, the advance of desertification at a rate in excess of 1,000 m / year will be a reality, according to a new report from WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and CEABN / ISA (Centro de Ecologia Aplicada Professor Baeta Neves do Instituto Superior de Agronomia): "The cork oak tree, a barrier against desertification".

The cork oak is a priority species for combating desertification. Cork oak forests, forming ecologically and economically sustainable systems are an important tool for preventing desertification. If properly managed, these systems generate high levels of biodiversity; improve soil organic matter; contribute to the regulation of the hydrological cycle and lock depopulation.


The perspective of social desertification, and according to a report published by WWF in 2006, over 100 000 people, scattered throughout the Mediterranean Basin, depend directly or indirectly in the production of cork.