Today, November 23rd , is the Autochthonous Forest Day, also called Native Forest Day. This date aims to publicize the economic and environmental importance of the preservation and maintenance of native forests, with November being a favorable month in Portugal for raising awareness of this theme since weather conditions, such as low temperatures and precipitation, are beneficial to planting and seeding of trees.
The autochthonous trees are so called because they have a native origin in the territory where they inhabit. Today we will talk about the Portuguese species, which are born in Portugal, such as the cork oak, holm oaks, oaks, among others. As this type of trees are originate from the region, are better adapted to soil and climate conditions, and therefore are more resistant to pests, diseases, long periods of drought or intense rain, and even fires, as is the case of the cork oak, source of the raw material with which we work (cork), which the introduced species.
According to Quercus, “about 38% of the Portuguese mainland is made up of forest”, which represents an added value for environmental sustainability insofar as the forest contributes to the conservation of biodiversity, production of oxygen, fixation on greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide) and soil protection.
The 6th National Forest Inventory, from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, shows that, in Portugal, the national forest is mostly made up of native forest species: 72%. The Montados, Sobreiras and Azinais represent the main occupation of the forest. Cork oaks (Quercus Suber), which we love so much, and holm oaks (Quercus rotundofila), protected by Decree-law nº169/2001, represent around 37% of this area, and Oaks (Quercus robur) only 4% of our current forest, with no legal protection for its preservation.
But why should we preserve and plant native trees?
- It maintains air quality, retains water and helps to preserve the soil;
- Integrates natural landscape;
- Provides important natural resources for humankind, such as “our” cork, medicinal plants, honey, wood, etc.;
- Bears fruits consumed by Man and Animals, such as chestnuts and acorns.
The national autochthonous forests are not only part of the Portuguese cultural heritage, but also allow the balance of ecosystems, helping to maintain the fertility of rural areas and the biological balance of landscapes.
According to Esposende Ambiente, these forests “are also places of refuge and reproduction for a large number of native animal species, many of them also on the verge of extinction.”
It’s therefore necessary to preserve and care of native trees and encourage its planting.
At Online Cork we love cork and respect nature
At Online Cork we work with Portuguese amadia cork, which comes from the bark of the cork oak (Quercus Suber). This cork is extracted in the third and subsequent strippings. Surely you have heard that cork is extracted from the cork oak every 9 years. The first stripping, called “virgin”, only takes place when the tree is 25 years old, the second is called “secondary”, from then on, even the extraction of amadia cork is carried out every 9 years.
The cork oak is an autochthonous tree of great longevity, living between 150 and 200 years, and with which we know that we can work without damaging the tree and harming the environment. Cork stripping does not involve any toxic material and cork naturally renews itself every decade.
There are several reasons that make us work with this raw material, highlighting the fact that it is renewable, biodegradable, natural and recyclable.
According to National Geographic, waste from the cork industry is still used in the pharmaceutical industry or to produce energy.
Knowing all this, at Online Cork we chose to combine tradition and design with Portuguese cork to create sustainable and environmentally friendly products. With respect and love for nature as a whole, we offer online articles approved by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Today, on Autochthonous Forest Day, make a difference and if you have land, plant a tree of an autochthonous species.
Alternatively, if you’re in Portugal, you can support the cork stopper recycling initiative led by Missão Continente, Quercus and Corticeira Amorim, which since 2008 has saved 401 tons of cork and planted 1.2 m of native trees in Portugal.
Alone, we care. Together, we preserve.
Portuguese Sources (use Google Translator extension)