The cork oak forests are well-adapted to the semi-arid regions of southern Europe, preventing desertification and providing the perfect habitat for many animal and plant species, including some rare species in extinction.
Preserving the cork oak forest areas, and the cork's economical viability, is essential to maintain the biodiversity, avoiding desertification and promoting regional social stability.
The role of cork in preventing the global heating is significant. The cork bark of the tree regenerates itself after harvesting and it is known that a harvested cork tree absorbs 3 to 5 times more carbon. A recent study indicated that Portuguese cork forests can absorb 4,8 million tons of carbon each year and it is estimated that Mediterranean cork forests can absorb over 14 million tons of carbon per year.
The cork industry itself is truly eco-efficient. All cork is used, not one gram of cork is wasted. Cork by-products, are used in different products (flooring, decorative items, automobile industry...), and recycling (post-industrial and post-consumer) is a common practice. Even cork dust is used to generate energy.