Cork is one of nature’s most extraordinary materials, with unique properties. It is waterproof, odorless, resistant to chemicals and the attack of insects and fire, elastic, excellent insulation, very light, completely natural, renewable and biodegradable. It is applied in all types of human technologies (aerospace, naval, automotive), in construction, in decoration, in the pharmaceutical industry, in food … It is extracted from the cork oak, a tree of large proportions and very slow growth that is present in the Mediterranean area, mainly in Spain and Portugal. And it is a very hard job, which takes place in the summer and begins at dawn.

Cork exploitation favours, in addition, the conservation of cork oak forests, which contribute greatly to reducing the CO2 of the atmosphere and provide refuge to many animal species threatened with extinction.

Photographs © Francisco Márquez