The cork oak, Quercus Sober, is a very special type of tree that grows on the Mediterranean woodlands and the North of Africa. Portugal alone accounts for 33% of the world cork oak forest, the Dehesa, or in Portuguese, Montado.
1. Cork Can Be Harvested Every 9 Years
What makes this tree so special is the ability to continue alive and healthy after it’s bark is peeled off. Cork can be harvested since the tree turns 25 years old and has a diameter of 70 centimeters. After that, the bark can be harvested every 9 years.
2. Harvesting Cork Helps The Tree Absorb More CO2
Harvesting cork not only doesn’t harm the tree, it’s actually good for them as it also enhances the ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The seven million acres of cork forest around the Mediterranean offset 20 million tons of CO2 each year.
3. The Oldest Cork Tree Was Planted In 1783
The oldest cork tree was planted in 1783. Is called “The Whistler Tree” is located in Alentejo, Portugal, and stands over 14 meters high with 4.5 meters of diameter. Its cork has been harvested more than 20 times over the years.
4. Cork Is Been Used Since 3000 B.C.
The cork from the oak tree has been used for quite some time. There are reports of its use to make fishing accessories in 3000 B.C. in Egypt, China, and Persia. The ancient Greeks also knew about the importance of the cork oak, as this tree was a symbol of freedom and honor and could only cut off by priests.
5. The Cork Oak is Considered National Patrimony In Portugal
In Portugal nowadays nobody can cut off this tree, as from 2011 it was considered National Patrimony by the Portuguese Republic. This means that you can risk sometime in jail if you decided to cut off cork oak in Portuguese soil.