Andalucia Diary – Seasonal Travel Notes

Naked Mediterranean Cork Oaks, La Mairena

After a boozy night out in Malaga last night, today I needed some exercise! I took my bike out, taking the tracks that lead around the cork forests near the house. Mediterranean_oaks_la_Mairena_Marbella_andrew_forbes
The evening was beautiful; the warm light exaggerated the visual impact of the red bark of the recently harvested cork oak trees. In august it was the turn of our neighbourhood trees to have their cork removed; a process that happens every eight to ten years and involves the manual removal of the thick, twisted outer bark. Huge piles of cork bark were stacked up under the trees last month, and swiftly taken away to a processing factory in a huge truck – each load worth thousands of euros. Mediterranean_cork_oaks_la_Mairena_Marbella_andrew_forbes
Now, the naked trees, stripped of their protective, parasitical jackets, reveal their natural, rich red bark, which looked stunning this evening as the sun was going down. The thick, spongy bark is thought to be a natural defence mechanism against forest fires – and it does seem to work. After the local fire this spring (which I blogged about on January 30 this year), remarkably the oak trees have recovered. Where the pine trees have been destroyed, the oaks have re-sprouted with a wealth of new growth on the ancient branches – something that must have happened multiple times in their life. Mediterranean_cork_oak_la_Mairena_Marbella_andrew_forbes
The Andalucía cork industry remains big business, despite wineries migrating to plastic corks and screw tops, under pressure from supermarkets that want to minimise wastage due to ‘corked’ wines that have oxidised, due to imperfections in the cork that has allowed too much air into the bottle.

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  1. Felice Zevenbergen
    Felice ZevenbergenMay 06, 2016

    Dear Andrew Forbes,

    we are a young Amsterdam based company promoting the use of cork products. We would like to use your cork oak photos for our website. Is this possible?

    Thanks, and with warm regards,

    Felice & Iyiapo

    • Andrew Forbes
      Andrew ForbesJul 04, 2016

      I can sell you images for use on your site if you are interested.

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Andrew ForbesTravel & Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor Web: Twitter : @andrewaforbes Instagram @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »