Cork Oak

Quercus suber

Red List status

Least concern

Related spirits


N Africa and S Europe

When stripped every ten years of its dense bark, the trunk of the Cork Oak glows amber, slowly changing from gold to rust red as the weeks pass. Decades of degradation in rural areas of southern Europe have left cork oak forest fragmented, pushing some species, such as the Iberian Lynx into critical measures.

The Iberian Lynx, Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black Vulture are the focus of dedicated conservation work that aims to restore the habitat of cork forests to increase numbers of breeding pairs. Integral to the fieldwork is the use of advanced imaging technology and close development of close community relationships to encourage education and awareness about species protection. Remote landscape laser sensing can contain layers of detail about properties of different levels of forest canopy and associated diversity.

In June 2015, we spent two days filming the stripping of bark from cork trees in the Alentejo region of Portugal, and the tree is featured in our film Into the Blue.