Cork Forests in Portugal

The Alentejo region of Portugal (east of Lisbon) is home to the largest cork forests n the world, where many species of plants and animals (including the rare Iberian lynx) are protected. Cork is a totally natural product and its environmentally friendly, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. Portugal has enough cork forests to last more than 100 years and they are growing by 4% per year thanks to a reforestation program. These forests produce more than half of the world’s total cork supply with more than 15,000 employees working in the cork industry. To produce cork, a cork oak must be at least 25 years old (they can live as long as 200 yrs). Every nine years the outer bark is stripped from the tree whle the inner bark is left on. The harvested bark is boiled and purified. So skip that petroleum sourced plork or aluminum twist top and buy a wine with a cork to support the cork forests. Contact Valesa Cultural Services if you would like to visit a cork farm during your visit to Portugal.

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