Portugal is located in the south western part of the European continent and it has slowly emerged as one of the premier first world nations depicting stable economic growth supplemented by good quality living conditions. The cork oak tree is an evergreen oak tree which is grown in various parts of the African continent as well as in south west Europe but it is in Portugal that these are abundant and Portugal in fact accounts for about 50% of the world cork production. The cork oak tree, also known as Quercus suber, can grow up to a maximum height of around 20 m though in the places where the conditions are more favorable for its growth, it is a bit short in height. The leaves of the cork oak tree are dark green as it is an evergreen tree and is about 4 to 7 cm long having sharp uneven edges.
The bark of the cork oak tree is rugged, hardy and extremely thick and is known as cork and it is this cork which is harvested in Portugal every 9 years and its widespread production has led Portugal to become the leading cork producer in the world. One very significant reason for the continued ample production of cork is because of the fact that once the cork is removed from the tree, a newer layer begins to grow again and therefore this resource is constantly replaced once removed therefore confirming continuous production. In Portugal, cork oak trees are preserved and cutting them down is illegal unless it is sanctioned by the forestry department for the curbing of unproductive trees. Cork harvesting is more of a natural process and it is estimated that these cork oak trees can live for over 150 years and the first cork are obtained from its bark when the tree is about 25 years of age and then harvested for over a century.