Cork oak forest
Plant material and collections
Cork Oak Germplasm Bank
It contains specimens of cork oaks planted in 1998, which were previously grown in a greenhouse with acorns coming from various regions and one sap. The purpose of this bank is to keep samples of reproduction material from all origins of the world distribution areas of the Quercus suber species.
This germplasm bank includes cork oaks from ten origins, which cover nearly the total natural distribution of this species (Extremadura, Andalusia, Catalonia, Portugal, France, Algeria and Morocco). Out of those originating in Extremadura, there are specimens from four regions: Sierra de San Pedro, Sierra Morena Occidental, Montes de Toledo-Villuercas and North of Caceres.
The level of human intervention in the plot is minimal so that the individuals are allowed to grow naturally; we only control tree training by way of pruning and the onset of some pests.
Garden with Various Extremadura Ecosystems
The Cork, Wood and Charcoal Institute (ICMC) has a garden that contains a representation of several ecosystems from Extremadura, i.e. dehesas, cork oak forests and holm oak forests. It includes a good number of trees, bushes, shrubs and herbaceous plants that integrate the ecosystems as well as the wildlife living there.
Cork Samples Collection
The Cork, Wood and Charcoal Institute (ICMC) keeps an important collection of cork samples created in 1985 with over 60,000 cork samples from forests and cork oak communities of Spain, Portugal, France, Morocco and Tunisia. There are approximately 35,000 pieces that were obtained from the cork quality analyses conducted in plots of Extremadura (which equals to 800 samplings). The remainder belongs to trees from other regions of Spain such as Andalusia, Castilla-Leon (mainly Salamanca) and Castilla-La Mancha. Together with the specimens from other cork samples collecting countries, this cork samples collection has samples representing most of the Spanish and worldwide cork oak forests.
This collection has several roles, i.e. the preservation of this major cork samples collection amongst which some come from the Plan de Calas, which is a real database on the quality of cork in Extremadura and of other cork samples collecting regions. It is also useful for companies dealing with cork transformation to see cork samples of commercial batches in a centralised way.