Natural habitat of cork oak trees expands from the Iberian Peninsula to Mediterranean Sea area, northern Africa and the coast of Italy. Majority of cork oak forests are found on the elevated area, at the altitude of 300-600 m above sea level, between Spain and Portugal where climate is ideal for cork oak ecosystems.
Cork oak is found on forest mosaics with other oak species, pines and olive trees and is resilient to high temperatures and long periods of drought. These forests are very high in biodiversity, offering a natural habitat for a variety of plant and animal species. Cork oak is a protected species that is traditionally managed in an ecosystem where pasturing plays an important role in controlling wildfires. Apart from high biodiversity values, cork oak forests are an essential part of cultural heritage in the regions and provide rural employment.
The actual name of the tree derives from the Greek syphar, or wrinkled, with reference to the remarkable development in thickness of the rhytidome forming a coating known as cork. Cork is the bark stripped from the cork oak tree. Harvesting does not damage the tree but the bark grows back and can be commercially extracted some 15 times during the lifetime. The tree resists fires well due to the protection provided by cork. Cork oak trees can reach the age of up to 400 years and cork has been harvested and used since the ancient Greek times in the region.
Cork is a fully natural product, renewable and sustainable with very good demand prospects. Most common uses of cork are as wine and champagne bottle stoppers, insulation material, flooring, shoe insoles, and all types of decorative uses. Cell structure of cork is compressible, resilient and impervious.
Over the past two centuries, every great wine has been finished with natural cork. As wine producers de-carbonize their entire supply chains, bottle stoppers made of cork are excellent also in this sense.
Cork forests can produce sustainable products while they sequester and store more carbon, simultaneously delivering a biodiversity service and support the development of rural communities.
Dasos has included cork oak trees in the Iberian Peninsula in its portfolio since 2014.
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