Are Cork Trees Endangered?
We often get asked this question and the answer is quite simple: No. Absolutely not. The rise of alternative wine closures such as screw-caps, faux cork, plastic, etc., have certainly created less demand for real cork stoppers. Obviously, utilizing other materials other than real cork is more cost efficient. The harvesting of cork is one of the best paid agricultural jobs in the world. It is a process that needs to be done by skilled workers so that the trees are not harmed.
Here are some facts:
- Cork trees can live 250 + years
- Trees are never cut down. Only the bark gets harvested
- The bark of the tree will regenerate every 9 years
Does this sound like they are endangered or we are running out of cork?
Honestly, Cork Oak trees need to be harvested to contribute to the overall great health of the tree.
Where does our cork come from?
Our cork comes from the “Montado” Forests in Portugal, which produces more than 50% of the world’s cork. The Portuguese Government safeguards this valuable resources (cork trees cannot be felled or removed by law) and stimulates the plantation of cork oak trees to ensure that the level of production is maintained. Today, there is enough cork in the forest of Portugal to last more than 100 years with a constant growth year over year due to the reforestation programs.
The cork oak is a tree species of the Western Mediterranean region and also grows spontaneously in other countries such as Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and even South of France and West Coast of Italy.