Two century old Portuguese cork tree named European Tree of Year in online poll

By TPN/Lusa, in World · 28-03-2018 14:36:00 · 0 Comments

An ancient cork oak in the Portuguese village of Águas de Moura, in the municipality of Palmela, in Setúbal district, was last week declared European Tree of the Year by the European Parliament, with 26,606 online votes.

The 234-year-old ‘whistler’ cork oak – so-called because of the quantity of songbirds it attracts in the evening – beat off competition from ancient elms in Cabeza Buey, Spain, which garnered 22,323 votes, and an oak in Russia known as ‘the Old Man of the Forests of Belgorod’.
On behalf of the Portuguese bid, the secretary-general of the Union of the Mediterranean Forest (Unac), Nuno Calado, said that he was very pleased with the victory, “not only because it was the first time that Portugal has taken part in the competition, but also because it has been a very difficult year”, in reference to the devastating and deadly forest fires that swept the country last year, specifically in June and October.
The announcement at the European Parliament marked International Day of the Forest, and was made last Wednesday at a ceremony at the institution’s headquarters in Brussels.
The online voting deadline closed on 28 February.
The winning tree was planted right in the very centre of Águas de Moura in 1784, and currently stands at 16.2 metres high.
Cork has been stripped from the tree’s trunk more than 20 times over its lifetime. It has also been listed as a ‘Tree of Public Interest’ since 1988, and according to the Guinness Book of Records is “the world’s largest cork oak”.
The other trees in contention were from 11 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK.


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