Cork leather is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, Quercus suber. The bark is a renewable, natural, and sustainable material that is supported with fabric and used to make a wide variety of items.
A Sustainable Harvest
Once a cork oak tree is around 25 years old, it is healthy enough for harvest. Cork oak trees live an average of 150 to 200 years, providing up to 18 harvests per lifecycle, thus making it a very renewable material.
To avoid damage, the bark is stripped from the trees by axe and hand - a skill that is often passed down from generation to generation. Once stripped, the tree will begin to sequester (capture and store) additional CO2 in which it uses to grow a new layer of bark that can be harvested after 9 years. Cork harvesting is a lucrative agricultural trade primarily in Portugal and Spain.
Natural Environmental Diversity
Cork forests, known as Montados, are home to many species of plants and animals. It is estimated that plant diversity in these Montados can reach up to 135 species per square meter. Many of these species are endangered, including the Iberian Lynx, Iberian Imperial Eagle, Barbary Deer, Black Vulture, and Black Stork. The trees help to regulate the water cycle and combat against desertification, protecting the habitat.
(Left - Iberian Lynx, Top - Black Vulture, Bottom - Iberian Imperial Eagle, Right - Black Stork)