Threats: an uncertain future

Burnt cork trees
Cork oak landscapes face many threats, including fires, forest clearance for agriculture or faster-growing plants, climate change, disease, and over-grazing.

But one major threat comes from the growing use of plastic and metal substitutes for cork stoppers for wine bottles, cork’s main market.

This could erode the market value of cork – and the incentive to utilize and preserve cork oak forests.

If the economic value of forests is not maintained cork areas will be abandoned, threatening more fires and desertification, as well as job losses.

Paolo Lombardi, director, WWF Mediterranean Programme