Recork is born from a desire to create beautiful, functional cork flooring that helps reverse global warming and restore the planet’s ecological balance.
At Recork what matters most is doing the right thing for our struggling planet, so we embrace a simple philosophy: our products should give back to the planet more than they take, they should exceed your practical expectations, and naturally they should look gorgeous.
James Scully | Founder
Cork is the bark of a remarkable tree: Quercus Suber, the cork oak. Across a 200 year lifespan, the cork oak is harvested 15 times without damage. It simply regenerates after each extraction. A harvested cork oak retains three to five times more CO2 than an unharvested tree, so the cork oaks of the Montado play a vital role in the fight against global warming.
The cork oak forest, known in Portugal as the Montado, occupies five million acres in the humid Mediterranean basin, producing 200,000 tons of cork each year. The Montado has ancient origins, but was first cultivated in the 1800s to supply the bottle stopper industry. It is a cultural landscape, economically supporting 100,000 people through agriculture, cattle breeding, medicinal plant harvesting and hunting, in addition to cork production.
According to the World Wildlife Fund the cork oak forests are… “one of the best examples in the Mediterranean for balancing conservation and development for the benefit of people and nature. They sustain rich biodiversity and traditional livelihoods, provide opportunities for development in economically and socially disadvantaged areas, and play a key role in ecological processes, such as water retention, soil conservation and carbon storage.”
The cork harvest is a skilled manual process using traditional axes rather than polluting machines. Harvesting requires deep knowledge of the forest and is carried out by expert descorticadores, with skills passed down through family generations.
Legal protections govern cork harvesting. Trees must be 25 years old, with a circumference over 70cm, measured 1.3 metres above ground. Extracting cork planks is a six part process of opening, separation, dividing, extracting, removal and marking to show which year the tree was harvested.
We are proud to support Fauna & Flora International’s mission to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, and so protect the biodiversity that underpins the life support systems all species rely on.
Portugal is rich in wildlife and landscapes, with many important ecosystems including maquis shrublands, grasslands, sand dunes and rocky cliffs as well as the cork oak Montado. Thousands of plant, mammal, bird, amphibian and reptile species are found naturally in Portugal. But habitat degradation and fragmentation caused by pollution, intensive agriculture, forestry and other human activities, is threatening Portugal’s wildlife. FFI works to protect the country’s habitats and species.
A past FFI project worked on the conservation of the Iberian lynx, which is the world’s rarest cat species. In the early 2000s the species was on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and disease outbreaks among their wild rabbit prey. FFI worked with local stakeholders to secure and manage land across southern Portugal. This provided habitat and prey for the endangered Iberian lynx as well as for other species that share its habitat. With land management agreements now protecting 20,000 hectares of habitat, the Iberian lynx population has risen to over 1000 in Spain and Portugal.