Cork trees thrive in the Mediterranean area such as Portugal, Algeria, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia.
Cork trees live on average 200 years, but there are cork trees that are 500 years old. They grow up to 75 feet tall.
A cork tree is ready to be harvested after it is 40 years old.
Apparently you can find nice cork trees on the grounds at UC Davis and Disneyland. We personally saw beautiful specimen in the Sonoma Plaza and at the Carmel Mission.
There are mentions of cork and its uses in many ancient documents and literature surviving from as far back as 400 BC
Seventeenth century French monk, Dom Perignon, is credited with being the first to recognize the ability of cork to contain sparkling wines.
The bark is ready to be re-harvested after 9 to 12 years. A 200 years old cork tree can be harvested over 16 times.
The bark is stripped manually by expert harvesters in the months of May to August.
Cork planks are stored outside for a minimum of 6 months to dry up before they start being processed.
1 m3 (35.3 Cubic feet) of cork planks weighs 7-7.5Kg (15.4-16.5 lbs). From 100Kg (220lbs) of raw planks you can obtain 62Kg (136.6lbs) of usable planks.
Cork is actually made of water-resistant cells that separate the outer bark from the delicate interior bark. It has a unique set of properties not found in any other naturally existing material. It is lightweight, rot resistant, fire resistant, termite resistant, impermeable to gas and liquid, soft and buoyant.
Cork Oak forests contain one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity including endemic plants and endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx, the Iberian Imperial Eagle, and the Barbary Deer. It is also vital source of income for thousands of family farmers, who for generations have worked these forests. These forests absorb millions of tons of CO2 each year and are a vast provider of oxygen to our planet. The forests also provide the greatest defense against the desertification of this region. The cork forests are one of the most sustainable and environmentally harvested forests in the world.