Though the Cork Oak (Quercus suber) can flourish in many climates, the conditions that favor commercial use lie in a fairly narrow swath that cuts through Western Europe and Northern Africa along the Mediterranean coast.
The cork forest is the dominant ecosystem in much of the arid coastal areas in its range. Thriving on poor, sandy soil, the cork forest is a valuable resource that provides food and habitat for indigenous mammals and birds. The oak canopy provides cover for other flora and its deep root system protects against erosion.
Because of good husbandry practices and recent plantings, the cork forest is undergoing a period of expansion. This bodes well for the future as the cork forest will continue to provide an irreplaceable natural environment while serving the wine industry.