A GROWING trend for using cork as a building material is playing a key role in preserving the habitat of critically endangered species, including the Iberian Lynx.
Increased usage in thermal insulation, upholstery covers and wallpaper, along with a resurgence in cork wine-stoppers, means cork forests are being saved.
Farmers had been forced to replace the cork oaks with more viable alternatives such as olives after screw top bottles and cheap building materials threatened the industry.
But cork’s return to popularity has meant the forests, which act as a home to the lynx and birds including the Iberian imperial eagle, are now being preserved.
“Cork was used quite extensively in the house-building industry until the ‘50s, when oil-based products out competed it on price,” said Allan Creaser, director of Cork Insulation.
“It is coming back into vogue because it’s natural and is the only completely carbon negative building material.”