Tuesday, 24 December 2013

[www.keralites.net] Cork havest




Have you ever wondered where that cork in your bottle of wine comes from? The answer is most likely to be Spain or Portugal, where over half of the world's cork is harvested - it is in fact the National Tree of the latter country.

However, unlike other forms of forestry, the production of cork never involves the death of a tree.
Instead, they are gently stripped, leaving a strange but fascinating landscape of denuded trunks.




All of this takes some time.  Cork trees can live to over two hundred years but are not considered ready for their cork to be removed until they are at least twenty five years old.  Even then, the first two harvests do not produce cork of the highest quality – it isn't until the trees are in their forties that they produce premium cork.



Once the trees have reached the maturity necessary to produce high quality cork then they will be harvested only every nine years.  A tree, in its lifetime, can be harvested (the process is known as extraction) about fifteen times.  Little wonder then, that in Portugal and Spain the propagation of the trees and the production of cork has become an inter-generational industry, with farmers still producing a crop from trees planted by their great-great grandfathers.



The cork must, however, be extracted from the trees without causing any lasting harm to them – otherwise, nine years later they will be useless.  Extraction takes place in the summer when the tree is least susceptible to damage. The poor cork which is produced as a result of the first two harvests is known as male cork: later extractions provide what is known as gentle cork which is what you will screw out of the wine bottle, the contents of which it helps to flavor. 


The extractors must be skilled at their job.  They make two cuts to the tree.  The first is horizontal and is cut around the tree. This is known as the necklace and the incision is made at a height around three times the circumference of the tree.  Then a series of vertical cuts are made which are called openings or rulers.  This is the point at which the extractors must use the most strength but at the same time be at their most gentle.  They push the handle of the axe in to the rulers and prise the cork away.



If the cuts are too deep or impatiently done then there is a risk that the phellogen of the tree will be damaged.  This is the cell layer which is responsible for the development and growth of the periderm of the tree – its bark in other words.  Damage this and the tree will produce poor or no cork in the future: it may even die.  So strength and gentleness must be used in equal measure during the extraction.



Once the cork is extracted it is stacked in layers and left to dry out.  Once that has taken place it is taken to be processed.  The technique used leaves the trees alive and the environment intact – cork production is said to one of the most eco-friendly and recyclable harvests on the planet.



Not only is cork easy to recycle.  The trees prevent the local environment from becoming arid and so actively help to maintain rare ecosystems.  Not only that, but the cork forests of the Iberian Peninsula are home to a number of endangered species which would find it much harder to thrive without the presence of the cork oak forests.



Although 60% of the cork extracted is still used for bottle stoppers (despite the recent predilection for using alternatives) cork is an essential component of a number of other things too.  If you are a fan of badminton, then without cork you would no longer be able to play – it is a vital component in the manufacture of shuttlecocks.  More sports rely on it too – the centers of baseball and cricket bats are made of cork.



Cork is also a great material to use for insulation.  It is non-allergenic and easy-to-handle and if it does catch fire, its fumes are not toxic like man-made insulation materials.  The different segments of woodwind instruments are fastened together by pieces made from cork and not only that – the baton of your concert conductor will most likely also be made out of this versatile material.



Cork has many other uses, too, including components of the fairings and heat shields of spacecraft.  Yet ultimately, the fascination is in its production, which leaves so many trees stripped and bared to the elements and which gives the landscapes of parts of Spain and Portugal such a unique appearance.


Recent Activity:
KERALITES - A moderated eGroup exclusively for Keralites...

To subscribe send a mail to Keralites-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
Send your posts to Keralites@yahoogroups.com.
Send your suggestions to Keralites-owner@yahoogroups.com.

To unsubscribe send a mail to Keralites-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Homepage: http://www.keralites.net


[www.keralites.net] ????????????????? ??? ???????????


2013-ല്‍ എ.എഫ്.പി എടുത്ത വേറിട്ടുനില്‍ക്കുന്ന ചിത്രങ്ങള്‍ കാണാം.

Lightning strikes during a thunder storm as tornado survivors search for salvagable stuffs at their devastated home.



A Palestinian sets fire to a tyre during clashes between hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers

People run away as Turkish riot policemen fire tear gas on Taksim square on June 11, 2013. Turkish police fired massive volleys of tear gas and jets of water to disperse thousands of anti-government demonstrators in Istanbul's Taksim Square on June 11, after earlier apparently retreating, an AFP reporter saw. The gas sent the crowd scrambling, raising tensions on a 12th day of violence after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned he had 'no more tolerance' for the mass demonstrations

People standing on balconies look at participants as they run in front of Alcurrucen's bulls during the first bull run of the San Fermin Festival, on July 7, 2013, in Pamplona, northern Spain. The festival is a symbol of Spanish culture that attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs despite heavy condemnation from animal rights groups

Bayern Munich's defender Jerome Boateng (R) pours beer on Bayern Munich's French midfielder Franck Ribery

An Indian street child plays in a dry river bed after flood waters receded in Allahabad on October 25, 2013

Afghan schoolchildren take lessons in an open classroom at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Jalalabad, Nangarhar province on December 1, 2013. Afghanistan has had only rare moments of peace over the past 30 years, its education system being undermined by the Soviet invasion of 1979, a civil war in the 1990s and five years of Taliban rule.

Rescue workers breaking away bits of a pipe to remove a newborn baby boy stuck inside in the city of Jinhua

Women sunbath as Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa drives past during the third practice session at the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo

Rescue workers pass on a boat the overflooded old city of Passau, southern Germany, on June 3, 2013. Due to heavy and ongoing rainfalls, parts of the southern state of Bavaria were flooded.

Little parrot in Dimapur, India.

Czech Michal Navratil dives for a joke as superman after of the men's high diving final competition at the FINA World Championships in Moll de la Fusta port in Barcelona on July 31, 2013.

Bangladeshi commuters cross a river by boat during a blockade organised by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists and their supporters in Dhaka on December 19, 2013. Bangladesh's main opposition party has called for a 72-hour blockade, rejecting plans for a January 5, election and plunging the nation into fresh political turmoil.

A full moon sets behind the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado hill in Rio de Janeiro.

A Bahraini girl is carried by her mother during the funeral of Sayed Omran Sayed Hameed

This picture taken on July 27, 2013 shows people trying to cool off at a water park in Suining, southwest China's Sichuan province, as a heatwave hit several provinces in China. Much of China is in the grip of a summer heatwave, and the China Meteorological Association issued a high temperature warning for several eastern and central provinces, saying temperatures could reach 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) on July 31

Egyptian people wave the national flag as army helicopters fly above Egypt's landmark Tahrir square on July 4, 2013. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails, denounced a new 'police state' after the arrest of Islamist leaders and the closure of satellite channels.

An Indian forestry worker walks past the body of a tusker elephant after it was struck by a train at the Buxa Tiger Reserve.

The Aurora Borealis bright up the sky at twilight

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland

A Somali woman reacts on March 18, 2013 near the site of a car bomb in central Mogadishu

Woman throws bras on March 25, 2013 at the esplanade des droits de l'homme.

Cranes operated by Bangladeshi Army personnel are pictured at the scene following the April 24 collapse of an eight-storey building in Savar

Catholic pilgrims attending World Youth Day (WYD) crowd Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on July 28, 2013 after spending the night sleeping here following a prayer vigil headed by Pope Francis. The city's mayor said he expects up to three million people to pack the beach on Sunday for the final mass of the pope's week-long visit to the tropical city

Sadhus or holy men walk in a procession towards the Sangham or the confluence of the the Yamuna and Ganges rivers to bathe before sunrise.

A man (R) pointing a pistol at leader of the Turkish minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party Ahmed Dogan

Unknown anti-gay activist hits Russia's gay and LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev.

An Indian youth dangles from a power line before diving into the floodwaters of an overflowing Ganges river in Allahabad on August 6, 2013. The monsoon, which covers the subcontinent from June to September and usually brings flooding, accounts for about 80 percent of India's annual rainfall.

Pakistani people walk through a storm near the Ravi river in Lahore on September 15, 2013. Heavy rains and hailstorms lashed the capital, throwing traffic out of gear in many parts of the city as a result of water logging.

US Garrett McNamara (L) and US Mark Healey (R) compete during a free session of surf tow in, in the southern Pacific ocean island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, on June 1, 2013 in Teahupoo

Malian soldiers fight while clashes erupted in the city of Gao on February 21, 2013

Football superstar David Beckham (R) falls down after illustrating how to take a free kick during a visit to the Zall Football Club in Wuhan.

Pose: Sasha (L) and Malia Obama, daughters of US President Barack Obama, take a photo of themselves during the Presidential Inaugural Parade.

Shocking: Residents walk past buildings burning in riot-hit Meiktila.

Oprah Winfrey's exclusive interview with Lance Armstrong

Riders reach the crest of a dune during the opening lap of the main race of the 2013 RHL Weston beach race in Weston-Super-Mare, southwest England, on October 13, 2013. Beach racing is an offshoot of enduro and motocross racing. Riders on solo motorcycles and quad bikes compete on a course marked out on a beach, with man-made jumps and sand dunes being constructed to make the course tougher. Riders race along the beach and across a series of sand dunes in a three-hour endurance race.




Recent Activity:
KERALITES - A moderated eGroup exclusively for Keralites...

To subscribe send a mail to Keralites-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
Send your posts to Keralites@yahoogroups.com.
Send your suggestions to Keralites-owner@yahoogroups.com.

To unsubscribe send a mail to Keralites-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Homepage: http://www.keralites.net