MontadoMost of the cork in the world comes from a delicate, bio-diverse ecosystem in southern Portugal called the Montado. Here lives, not only the largest number of cork oak on the Earth but also a wild collection of flora, fauna and endangered species.
Wild habitat The Montados region is a wild habitat but none of those animals would have a home if it weren’t for the cork oak trees. Every species depends on each other in the Montados, even the people who harvest the environmentally friendly cork.
Animals homeAnimals you might see munching on aromatic shrubs include foxes, wolves, wild boar, deer and Iberian lynxes (an endangered species). The stout and wide canopy of the cork oak trees provide ideal homes for birds such as kestrels, owls, black storks, eagles, black vultures, woodpeckers as well as 60,000 grey herons.
1.8 million acresMontado in Portuguese means “mounted” referring to the vast lands, about 1.8 million acres, one could ride a horse through, away from all civilization. Over time the Portuguese learned to carefully extract and nurture the cork oak trees using selective thinning and low-density cultivation without destroying the ecosystem around it.
15 to 25 thousand plant speciesPastures in the Montado have been used for both agriculture and domestic animal rearing for years, alongside wild and native species of plants and animals. The Mediterranean basin has between 15 to 25 thousand plant species, half of which are endemic to the area.