Pearl Cork  
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  Source: APCOR, From tree to cork _ A sustainable system  

Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber L), a magnificent tree with very special characteristics. It grows in the Mediterranean regions of Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Algeria and, above all, Portugal, where there are 730,000 hectares of cork oak forest as well as a cork industry of great economic importance.

One very interesting fact about the cork oak is that it produces a homogeneous outer bark of elastic tissue that is impermeable and a good thermal insulator - cork.

The physical properties of cork, particularly its thermal insulation, can protect the trees from the effects of fire.
It is an astonishing tree, long-lived and with an amazing ability to regenerate. It lives on average for 150 to 200 years, in spite of having its bark stripped off many times during its life: about 16 times at nine-year intervals.

This plant tissue – cork – that people harvest with such care has matchless unique properties that human ingenuity has so far been completely unable to imitate or surpass:
• very light
• impermeable to liquids and gases
• elastic and compressible
• excellent thermal and acoustic insulation
• smoulders rather than burns
• very resistant to friction