Ecotourism for the conservation of the Cork Forest

We are going on tour through the cork territories. Ecotourism for the conservation of the cork forest

We are completing the first stage of one of the most exciting projects we have in the pipeline, in which we have been working really hard the last months. Tomorrow we get into high gear and hit the road to finalize the details of the ecotourism experience we are designing with the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect the Mediterranean cork forests.

This story goes back to last summer, when we contacted Patrick Spencer, the Executive Director of the CFCA, with whom we have been working since then and who we had the pleasure to meet this winter in Madrid. He is a person who transmits his passion and enthusiasm, as you can see in the video below. It is worth taking the time to listen him.

The objective of this project is to raise awareness of the natural, cultural and socio-economic importance of this ecosystem through ecotourism, to convey to the American public the message of the benefits of using cork for the conservation of this invaluable ecosystem. The idea is that travelers can experience firsthand this reality, so that they can understand and appreciate it.

For ten days we will be visiting three of the major cork producing areas of Spain: Extremadura, Andalusia and Catalonia, to give shape to the trips we will launch for the summer of 2015.

Cork Forest Conservation Ecotourism in Spain
Cork oak dehesa in Extremadura

We will begin in Extremadura and head first to Sierra de San Pedro, the westernmost part of the province of Cáceres, where we will have the opportunity to visit a cork oak estate, observe the cork harvest works and admire the diverse wildlife that inhabits this area, which is a true haven for some endangered species as the Spanish Imperial Eagle. There we will also enjoy one of the gastronomic treasures of the dehesa, the Iberian pig.

Apart from these cork activities we will not miss the opportunity to visit the cities of Merida and Caceres, both declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara.

Then we will head to Catalonia, to visit Gavarres massif in the province of Girona. There we will see the differences in the structure and management of the cork forest from those of Extremadura and we will have the opportunity to discover how cork stoppers are made. To close the circle, we will visit a local winery, where we will learn about the important role of cork in wine making.

To make the most of this visit, we will walk through the beautiful towns of Girona, Monells and Calella de Palafrugell and enjoy the excellent local cuisine.

To continue our trip we will cross the Iberian Peninsula to Andalusia, to visit Los Alcornocales Natural Park, in the province of Cádiz, where we will observe the special cork harvest techniques that the topography of this territory requires. We will also enjoy the great variety of birds that gather around the Strait of Gibraltar and we will put to sea to try to observe cetaceans. To continue learning about the association between cork and wine we will visit a traditional winery in the town of Ronda and we will also discover how the best olive oil is produced in an organic almazara.

To put a grand finale to our trip, we will stop at Sierra de Andújar Natural Park, where the largest population of the world's most endangered feline, the Iberian Lynx, lives, which also finds among cork oaks one of the habitats that serve as its last haven.

During these ten days we will try to keep you abreast of our adventures so, if you wish, you can follow our profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, where we will publish our photos and stories.

We are moving now.

We will tell everybody where we are once we arrive.