IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
By Nick Lloyd - Home - Contact

Cork trees in Spain

29/07/2006 Cork forests in Spain

A couple of photos of the cork industry sent coincidently to me yesterday. The first one on the edge of Grazalema by A.W.G. Reid. Thanks. The second by Stephen Daly of Andalucianguides, somewhere near El Campo de Gibraltar. Some stunning work by him very soon. Cork trees can live up to 500 years. Though the cork may be stripped every nine years, it takes at least 40 for the bark to become commercially viable. This is why most cork farms are passed down to the next generation, hoping they will eventually benefit from this unique forest product, hence the adage: Eucalyptus trees are for us, pine trees for our children, and cork trees for our grandchildrenFrom here . See also video of cork conservation and Iberian lynx

Cork forests cover some 2,700,000 ha in 7 Mediterranean countries (Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France). They are typically a mosaic of mixed forest, woodland, scrub and pasture, supporting high plant and wildlife diversity. They represent one of the best Mediterranean examples of the sustainable use of forests, with economic benefits (cork extensive agriculture, forestry, grazing, hunting, birdwatching) in tune with a high conservation value. They are also considered excfellent buffers against climate change and desertification, water table recharge and run-off control.