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Bio­di­ver­sity


A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos


201122Sep19:27

Buy­ing wine with a nat­ural cork will help Iber­ian lynx survival

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 22 Sep­tem­ber 2011 | mod­i­fied 05 Decem­ber 2012
Archived

One of the envis­aged ben­e­fi­cial effects of the multi-​purpose Cork Ini­tia­tive is the estab­lish­ment of a viable breed­ing pop­u­la­tion of Iber­ian lynx (Lynx par­di­nus) in Por­tu­gal. Although large parts of Por­tu­gal orig­i­nally were Iber­ian lynx habi­tat, the lynx is now thought to be extinct in this part of the Iber­ian penin­sula. This crit­i­cally endan­gered wild felid is only to be found in the wild in a few patches of land in south­west Andalu­sia, with a total pop­u­la­tion of 84143 adults (IUCN Red List, 2008).

The Cork Ini­tia­tive, with con­tri­bu­tions of Fauna & Flora Inter­na­tional (FFI) and Liga para a Pro­tecção da Natureza (LPN), is try­ing to raise aware­ness of the impor­tance of the cork oak for the econ­omy and nat­ural habi­tat, includ­ing wild fauna, pas­tures and aro­matic shrubs in Por­tu­gal. More­over, they run projects to pro­mote the use of a nat­ural cork in bot­tles of wines.

Cork har­vest­ing is both tra­di­tional and 100% sus­tain­able, as the outer bark of the cork oak tree trunk is care­fully stripped by hand every 912 years using spe­cially designed axes and tech­niques which have been passed on through gen­er­a­tions. The trees can be har­vested around 15 times over a life­time, and no chem­i­cal tech­niques are used while pro­cess­ing the cork. So, the only thing to worry about is the trans­port when con­sid­er­ing the enviroment.

Unfor­tu­nately, due to decreas­ing global demand for nat­ural cork farm­ers are replac­ing cork oak trees with cit­rus trees. The ever­green cork oak forests play key roles in soil gen­er­a­tion and preser­va­tion, and water con­ser­va­tion within the very arid cli­mate of the Mediter­ranean. These forests ensure there­fore the nat­ural bio­di­ver­sity of the region. For instance, the mam­mals found in cork oak forests include hares, weasels, wolves, genets, wild boars, deer and a few Iber­ian lynxes in Spain. It is also the ideal habi­tat for mil­lions of birds, such as kestrels, lit­tle owls, great grey shrikes, black storks, impe­r­ial eagles, Span­ish impe­r­ial eagles, kites, black vul­tures, and woodpeckers.

FFI believes that within three to four years there will be a breed­ing pop­u­la­tion of Iber­ian lynx in Por­tu­gal, due to the con­ser­va­tion efforts like the Cork Ini­tia­tive. The habi­tat in Por­tu­gal with cork oak trees can sup­port and sus­tain lynxes, but first the lynx must be enabled to arrive there. The frag­mented habi­tats on both sides of the Portugese-​Spanish bor­der should be con­nected to pro­vide a cor­ri­dor and a habi­tat large enough to sup­port a viable pop­u­la­tion of the Iber­ian lynx. Sur­vival of the cork oak forests is there­fore para­mount, and accord­ing the Cork Initiative:

By buy­ing wine with nat­ural corks you help pro­tect the incred­i­ble diver­sity of species which live in cork oak forests, sup­port tens of thou­sands of people’s rural liveli­hoods and reduce our car­bon footprint.

(Source: FFI Update, August 2011; The Cork Ini­tia­tive; Life-​Lince project)

UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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