Los Alcornocales Natural Park covers nearly 170,000 acres and a set of mountain ranges where the biggest cork oak forest in the Iberian Peninsula grows in excellent state of conservation. It is also one of the most important oak cork forests in the world.

These are exceptional forests that line up in gallery structures and that comprise subtropical species uncharacteristic of the European continent located in the so-called ‘canuto’ or tubular forests present in deep valleys and straits carved by rivers in the soil. These tubular forests are lined by laurel trees, rhododendra, buckthorn bushes, laurestines and sweet alyssum, together with holly shrubs and some of the most uncommon varieties of fern found in our forests.

The cork oak, depending on humidity conditions and the type of soil, sometimes grows beside wild olive trees, Portuguese and Portuguese oak. Shrubs are varied and, amongst other species typical of Mediterranean climates, include mastic, laudanum, heather, Spanish lavender, flax-leaved daphne and running vines.

Birds of prey that are most adjusted to these forests are booted and snake eagles, buzzards, goshawks, sparrowhawks and tawny owls. Around the slabs and cliffs of the mountain ranges one can find rock nesting birds such as common and Egyptian vultures, partridge eagles, eagle owls, Peregrine falcons and kestrel.

Cork harvesting is an ancestral resource that, even today, still makes use of the traditional extraction method. Harvesting must occur at the time of peak vegetative activity so that the trees may be able to recover as soon as possible.



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