The endangered oak tree


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The silhouette of a worker, while he strips an oak tree with an axe, on a woodland in Ponte de Sor, (...)
The silhouette of a worker, while he strips an oak tree with an axe, on a woodland in Ponte de Sor, Portugal on Wednesday, June 18, 2008. The oak tree is usually cut by two men. The upper limbs are cut by a man, with the aid of a ladder, and the trunk is
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Description The silhouette of a worker, while he strips an oak tree with an axe, on a woodland in Ponte de Sor, Portugal on Wednesday, June 18, 2008. The oak tree is usually cut by two men. The upper limbs are cut by a man, with the aid of a ladder, and the trunk is cut by the other man. At the end of each day, on average, each man cuts about twenty trees. The cork cutting, called stripping, is a very delicate handmade process, because to avoid harming the tree trunk, a precise force must be exercised to cut the bark. The Oak tree lives between 150 to 200 years and its harvest interval is of nine years. Each tree will have on average, during its life, sixteen harvests. The oak tree woodlands have also a special importance in the Iberian ecosystem, since over 40 bird species, like the Black Stork, Eurasian Black Vulture and the Spanish Imperial Eagle, depend on them. Sustained in the oak tree woodlands is also the Iberian Lynx, which has been considered the most endangered cat species in the world. The Iberian Lynx makes use of the oak tree woodlands for its survival needs. The worldwide growing search trend for environmental friendly products, the cork proven qualities and applicability has boosted, economically, this activity, offering about 15.000 jobs. In Portugal, the average production is about 190.000 tons (418,878,298 pounds) per year, which generates about 550 million euros and corresponds to 54% of the worldwide production. Being the world's largest producer, with 33% of the world's oak woddlands, Portugal has about 725.000 hectares (2,799.2406 square miles) of oak tree forests, being the second largest tree specie forested area in the country. A report issued by the World Wide Foundation (WWF), in London, UK, on May 15, 2006, alerts for the danger of a possible 3/4 loss of the Oak tree forests worldwide within ten years, threatening the economical and environmental crisis. WWF warns that up to two million hectares of cork oak forests (an area about the size of Switz
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