Cork Oak Forest | Amorim Cork Flooring

Cork Oak Forest

Home to the most generous tree

The cork oak forest, or Montado as it is called in Portuguese, home to the fascinating cork oak tree, is an important environmental, social and economic pillar in Mediterranean countries. 
Cork oak forests occupy an estimated area of over 2.1 million hectares in the West Mediterranean basin. Around 90% of the area of distribution of the species is found in Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Algeria. From all the cork oak forests, approximately 200 000 tonnes of cork are harvested each year. Portugal, which has a third of the total area of cork oaks, is the largest producer, being responsible for about 50% of the world's cork production.

2.1 MILLION HECTARES

cork oak forests ocupy an estimated area

90% OF THE WORLD'S CORK OAK FOREST

is found in Portugal, Spain, Algeria and Morocco

200 000 TONNES OF CORK

are harvested each year

Myths and Facts

Did you know that the production of cork is environmentally friendly?

​A study developed by EY in 2019 concluded that the carbon footprint of Corticeira Amorim's activity and value chain in 2018 was 274 481 tons of CO₂.

What is the world cork production?

The world cork production is 200 000 tonnes per year, about 50% of which is from Portugal.

How important are cork oak forests?

​Cork oak forests contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and the survival of many indigenous animal species, some of which in danger of extinction. Equally important is its role in capturing CO2, the regulation of the hydrological cycle and restraining environmental and social desertification.
Cork oak forests form cultural landscapes, i.e. systems which have resulted from human action from the use of various resources: the cork, the fruit for animal feed, the pastures and agricultural crops. According to the WWF - World Wild Fund for Nature, over one hundred thousand people in southern Europe and north Africa directly and indirectly depend on these forests.

Why are cork oak forests natural fire retardants?

Thanks to the thermal and weak combustion properties of cork, cork oaks are more fire-resistant than other trees. The slow combustion of cork makes it a natural fire retardant, forming a barrier against fires. Its combustion does not release smoke or toxic gases.

How important are cork oak forests in the preservation of the species?

The cork oak forest is the basis of one of the 36 most important ecosystems in the world for preserving biodiversity, on par with Amazonia, the African Savanna and Borneo. It is the natural habitat for 135 plant species and over 200 animal species - including 160 bird species, 37 mammal species (in Portugal, it is home to 60% of the country's mammals) and 24 species of reptiles and amphibians. Among the cork oak forest animals there are some which are in danger of becoming extinct, such as the Iberian lynx, the world's most threatened feline species and most endangered carnivore in Europe.

Which endangered species depend on the cork oak forest?

The most endangered species is the Iberian lynx, only found in Portugal and Spain and considered to be critically endangered. According to the WWF - World Wild Fund for Nature, the total number of surviving Iberian lynx in these two countries is lower than 150 adult individuals. Among the endangered species of the Mediterranean Basin, the cork oak forest is also home to the Iberian Imperial Eagle (Portugal and Spain), the black vulture and the black stork (both in Spain) and the Barbary Stag (Tunisia and Algeria).

Besides cork, which other activities make cork oak forests viable?

Besides constituting a natural ecosystem which is unique in the world, cork oak forests make a wide range of agricultural, forestry, forest grazing, hunting and economic activities viable: the harvesting of medicinal plants and mushrooms, honey and beeswax production, coal production, hunting, cattle breeding, birdwatching, tourism and horse riding. It also gives rise to the creation of indigenous food products which are certified by the European Union.
In the seven Mediterranean cork-producing countries, over one hundred thousand people directly or indirectly depend on the economy provided by cork oak forests.

An activity that crosses generations

harvest

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