Factsheet S38: Cork & cork oaks


For over 2000 years the cork oak forests of the Northern hemisphere have supplied the local populace with timber, cork, domestic grazing for their herds of goats, sheep, cattle, horse and pigs, as well as hunting for ground animals and birds. Over this period the forests of European cork oak have greatly reduced in size and today cover about 2 million hectares in Europe and North Africa, 30% of which are in Portugal, 20% in Spain, 5% in France and 4% in Italy; and large areas in China. The sustainability of cork oak silvopastures is now under threat from under stocking of trees and excessive cork stripping, as well as the introduction of plastic wine corks.

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