The Disappearing Cork Forests of Portugal

For a couple years now the wine industry has been moving toward more screwcaps but there are some good reasons that the pendulum may shift again. A study by The World Wildlife Fund shows that up to three quarters of the Mediterranean’s cork forests could be lost within 10 years if the trend for plastic stoppers and screw tops continues.

A BBC Natural World documentary highlights the fact that these forests also support rare species such as Iberian lynx, black storks and booted eagles which are already disappearing in some areas. Because the farmers can no longer make as much money from cork harvest they have been ripping up the trees in order to grow alternative crops that will provide more ready cash. But the land that the cork oaks are on sometimes turns into a desert when the trees are removed.

According to an article in the Telegraph, in the Algarve, Portugal, cork forests have declined by 28 per cent in the past 10 years. The cork industry in Portugal is now attempting to fight back and has introduced new methods to protect against cork taint and are trying to bring increased attention to the industry through public service announcements.

By Deidre Woollard. Source:

Related articles.

Are French winemakers abandoning the cork?

Wine cork recycling gets organized.