Innovation in the Florest

Amorim Florestal

Corticeira Amorim is firmly committed to the discovery, evaluation and implementation of best practices related to the cork oak forest. The company is also implementing an ambitious Forestry Intervention Project (PIF) which aims to contribute to the vitality of the cork oak forest, increase the availability of raw materials and ensure the quality of cork products.

In the beginning was the cork oak tree

Launched in 2013, the PIF is fully financed by Corticeira Amorim and is being developed in partnership with forestry producers, local authorities and with renowned national and international academic and scientific institutions.

The PIF’s ultimate objective is to increase the total area of ​​cork oak forests in Portugal by 7% over the next ten years.

The vitality of the cork oak forest

The PIF encompasses different strategic areas of activity, structured across four main vectors: sequencing of the cork oak genome; improvement of the cork oak tree; development of optimised irrigation systems; and combatting pests and diseases. The research projects implemented to date include Regasuber, which has enabled the initial planting of 5.7 hectares of irrigated cork trees, monitored by specialists; Goregacork, incorporating trials and tests that have evaluated forest survival models for the cork oak tree in different climate change scenarios; and Genosuber, which has decoded the sequence of the cork oak genome. Initiatives are currently underway to collect relevant physiological, functional and structural data for the next stage, which involves planting of 250 hectares of cork oak trees in the Herdade da Venda Nova.

A total of 105,000 trees are rooted in the earth in the municipality of Alcácer do Sal and since December 2019 have benefited from a fertigation system that, among other technological tools, uses a weather station to measure evapotranspiration, wind speed and leaf wetness duration. The PIF’s ultimate objective is to increase the total area of ​​cork oak forests in Portugal by 7% over the next ten years. Approximately 50,000 hectares of new plantations, corresponding to a 35% increase in cork production, achieved by increasing the species' resilience, reducing the first cycle of cork extraction and ensuring better use of the land by increasing tree density per hectare. At the same time, the project is making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change, by virtue of the fact that the cork oak forest is a relevant carbon sink, a regulator of hydrological cycles and a promoter of biodiversity.

Amorim Florestal's Research & Development and Innovation (R & D + i) team also seeks to circumvent the shortage of skilled labour in the forest, reduce cork extraction costs associated and speed up processes.

In this context, it has developed a mechanical system that makes it possible to extract cork more quickly, with less physical wear for the harvester, delivering 25% productivity gains during the harvest.

As the world's largest producer of cork stoppers, Corticeira Amorim also places a major priority on the study, research and improvement of methodologies that will guarantee the superior, consistent and inviolable quality of its premium product. In this context, the company has embraced the challenge of eradicating sensory defects in cork and has achieved results that have reinforced its leadership. In fact, Corticeira Amorim has been a pioneer in the successful application of preventive and curative methods against the contamination of cork, caused by TCA (trichloroanisole), either through better choice, selection and storage of cork planks, or through innovative treatment systems such as CONVEX, ROSA (Rate of Optimal Steam Application) and INOS.

R&D and Innovation by business unit

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