Monday, August 06, 2007

"Plastic, not axes, threaten cork forests"

Interesting story on how synthetic corks are dooming the world's cork forests:

The Quercus suber, or cork oak, which grows on both the European and African sides of the Mediterranean, provides the raw material for practically all the 20 billion wine corks used every year.

The way cork is harvested -- shaved off the sides of trees like the way a sheep is shorn -- means forests continue to thrive as they give up their valuable bark.

In Sardinia, the only region in Italy that produces cork, the forests are a haven for wild boar, a species of hawk native to the island and Sardinian deer.

The highly endangered Iberian lynx roams the cork forests of Spain and Portugal, the global leader in cork production; in North Africa the forests provide a habitat for Barbary deer.

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