Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday: Romeu Cork Forest, Bragança, Portugal

Happy Earth Day! I found this little treasure the other day and, although these shots were taken with my old camera three years ago, I could not resist to share them! In reality, these were from an academic field trip to Romeu (Bragança) and the local cork oak forest-- perhaps the most important and largest one in northern Portugal. Cork forests have a very important role for nature and are actually protected by law. They are also a great example of the balance between environment conservation and sustainable development. In Portugal, the cork oak has been considered the national tree for centuries!

This forest in particular comprises a Natura 2000 Site of Community Importance. The cork is extracted from the trees every 9-10 years and then processed into its various uses and/or exported. The trunks are marked with a number to indicate the date when the cork was lastly removed (that '9' in one of the last pictures refers to 2009, which means the same tree will be ready for extraction by 2018-19). This nature-economy equilibrium is truly fascinating and a great example of how we humans should thrive. Plus, this forest is just too beautiful and full of little surprises! If you ever get the chance to visit northern Portugal, make sure to plan a little visit. Personally, I'd love to come back here someday.

(Please do forgive the quality of these shots, as they were taken on a cloudy winter day.)

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