Cork Solutions

The Cork Tree is Never Felled

Cork Solution’s sustainable cork flooring and wall covering products are made from natural cork harvested only from the bark of the cork oak tree. The tree itself is never cut down, and the bark is harvested periodically to ensure the tree’s longevity. Cork is derived naturally from the inner cells of the bark’s honeycomb structure. Each cubic centimeter of cork contains millions of polyhedral cells. Cork oak trees can live for over 200 years, and with proper bark harvesting, they can flourish for more than a century.

Renewable Resource

Cork is a highly sustainable material sourced from the living bark of the Cork Oak. Its properties come from the structure and chemical composition of its inner cells. The honeycomb structure contains millions of cells per cubic centimeter. Cork is harvested in a cycle that promotes healthy tree growth, and the Cork Oak can thrive for more than 200 years. The best conditions for commercial use are found in Western Europe and Northern Africa along the Mediterranean coast.

Cork producing nations

Major cork producing nations manage 2,200,000 hectares (5.4 million acres) of natural cork forests. Efforts by the European Economic Community (EEC) and environmental groups aim to protect existing forests and encourage new plantings.

Harvesting Cycles

Virgin cork isn’t removed from young trees until their 25th year. Reproduction cork, from the first cycle, is harvested about 9-12 years later. The cork harvesting process is done in a steady cycle to ensure healthy tree growth. Cork is removed from trees in spring or summer when it’s easily separable from the trunk due to the tree’s growth. In Portugal, harvesting occurs every 9 years, and on the island of Sardinia (Italy), it happens every 12 years.

Quality & Balance

Forest management focuses on balance, creating trees with optimal combinations of leaves, branches, and cork for vitality. Producers work on increasing cork quality from the forest level. The natural cork industry is a significant Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP).

Protecting the Cork Tree

Portuguese regulations protecting cork oak trees date back to 1320. In the 1920s and ’30s, cutting down trees for cork was restricted to essential thinning and removing nonproductive trees. The manufacturing process for eco-friendly flooring uses all scrap bark as fuel. Cork has a long history, with uses dating back to ancient Egypt, such as fishing floats and container stoppers.
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