Cork oak forests cover approximately 2.5 million hectares primarily in seven countries: Portugal, Algeria, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia.
This tree has a life span of 250 - 350 years. Each cork tree must be 20 to 25 years old before it can provide its first harvest of cork bark called "virgin". This type of cork has a hard and irregular structure. After extracting the virgin cork a new layer of cork starts generating.
The first of these layers, extracted after 9 years is given the name "secondary cork" and the ones produced from subsequent extractions are "amadia".
A typical tree produces several hundred kilograms of cork at each harvesting and will survive for many generations. The cork harvesting is made in a sustainable manner and does not harm the tree in any way.?? Cork production is assured with new plantations every year. Trees are never cut down or removed without strong government intervention, which prohibits this activity.??
Portugal, which produces more than 50% of the world"s cork, has been particularly careful with this resource. The first Portuguese regulations protecting cork oak trees date to 14th century. In the beginning of the 20th century, it became illegal to cut down the trees, other than for essential thinning and removal of old, non-productive trees.??
With the increasing concern for the environment, cork remains the only tree whose bark can regenerate itself after harvest - leaving the tree unharmed. It"s truly, a renewable, environmentally friendly resource
Cork Trees occupy vast areas and are constantly reporduing. The areas occupied by cork trees are situated west of the mediterranian basin and on the Atlantic coast, always close to vineyards. The cork tree needs a lot of light, relatively little rain, a degree of humidity, and thrives in altitudes up to 1,400 meters (above sea ��Clevel).
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