Cork - good for people, good for wildlife
The increasing use of artificial closures instead of natural corks in wine bottles presents a threat to the cork oak forests of southern Europe and the people and wildlife that depend on this ancient habitat and sustainable industry.
A fall in the demand for cork as a result of the recent and ongoing switch to plastic stoppers and screwcaps in wine bottles would lead to many cork estates being converted to other land uses, such as intensive farming or timber plantations.
If current trends continue, the wildlife-rich montados and dehesas could disappear within 20-30 years.
The RSPB is pleased to be working with APCOR (the Portuguese cork producers’ association) to promote the benefits of cork. Artist Robert Bradford has created a sculpture of a Spanish imperial eagle out of the 330,000 wine corks collected by RSPB members and supporters during 2001. The sculpture was launched at the Eden Project in September 2002. It is now permanently exhibited at the Pride of the Valley sculpture park in Churt, Surrey.
The Cork Report – A Study on the Economics of Cork written by Eduardo Goncalves on behalf of the RSPB in December 2000. Both the full report and the summary are available from the RSPB.