::: About Cork :::
The 'cork' designation is given to the bark of the Quercus Suber L, the well-known cork-oak tree. This West Mediterranean Basin native tree has been in existance for over 60 million years. The fruit of the cork-oak tree is called AKRON

Cork is natural, light, imputrescible, impervious to liquids and gases, flexible, resistant, it has great dimensional stability and is a thermal and acaustic insulator - it has a never-ending potential of applications.Cork is endowed with a natural property allowing it to recover its initial shape after being compressed. Cork is, in fact, composed of cells, about 40 million/cm.3, which are impervious and filled with air. Chemical composition of cork: 45% Suberin, 27% Lignin, 12% Cellulose and polysaccharides, 6% Tannins, 5% Waxes, 5% Ash and other compounds.
Distribution of the Cork-oak tree
The cork-oak forest covers an area of 2.2 million hectares in the world and yields 360, 000 tons of cork per year. The cork-oak can be found mostly over the Atlantic arch of the suberic world which covers most of the Iberian Peninsula (56%), and a narrow strip along the western Mediterranean coast. Portugal is the land of cork-oak par excellence and it accounts for 33% of world area occupied by this tree, followed by: Spain with 23%, Northern Africa with 33% (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), Italy and France accounting for the remaining 11%. Distribution of cork-oak cultivation in the Mediterranean Basin. Portugal has a cork-oak forest area of 725, 000 hectares. The efforts put forward towards reforestation of the suberic area (between 1993 and 1997 over 100, 000 hectares were cultivated, corresponding to a16% increase) allow good prospects for the future, since the reforestation pace now reaches 10, 000 hectares per year.

It is therefore not surprising that Portugal appears as the world leading cork producer, responsible for over 51% of the world production, which corresponds, on average, to a 9-year cycle and to about 155, 000 tons per year.
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