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:

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One Response to “The Disappearing Cork Forests of Portugal”

  1. UCD Wino on December 18th, 2008 20:02

    I love how the cork producers (amorim especially) are so quick to talk about how precious the cork forest environment is. But if we switch to screwcaps en-masse, what is going to happen to these forrests? Nothing if nobody cuts them down, and the only ones who would cut them down are the landowners - the cork companies themselves.

    I think the cork industry talking about environmental conservation is actually a threat of a scorched earth campaign - as if they are saying: you switch to screwcaps, we are going to cut our forrests down! Dont make us do that!

    If they were really the champions of the environment that they claim to be, then they would leave their cork tree ecosystem alone - regardless of what happens to the need for cork.

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