22 December 1998
Choose cork to save birds — and farmers

DRINKERS are being urged to choose cork over plastic as stoppers for their wine if they want to preserve the jobs of farmers and save wildlife.

The increasing use of plastic is threatening the wildlife that relies on the cork-producing regions of Spain and Portugal, says the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Europes biggest wildlife conservation charity.

Birds at risk, including the Spanish imperial eagle, the black stork and black vulture, plus the Iberian lynx, depend on the oak woodlands or “dehesas” used to produce cork.

The charity fears that farmers will switch to sunflowers or eucalyptus trees if cork production becomes uneconomic.

It says that this would lead to poor soils and water shortages.

  • Financial Times 22/12/98 page 9