StarTree partners visit Cork Capital Coruche
The 3rd StarTree General Assembly (GA) took place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 28 – 30 October 2013. Hosted by the Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA), this biannual gathering of the partners in the StarTree Consortium was attended by 48 representatives.
The focus of the GA was to discuss progress and challenges relating to the data collection process for each Work Package. There is a vast amount of work to be done in each of the 14 case study regions but expectations are high that the final result will provide a comprehensive picture for specific non-wood forest products (NWFP) as well as an overview of what others are available in each of the regions. A State-of-the-Art report will be produced by the middle of next year, compiled of knowledge and information already in existence and the wealth of findings acquired through the StarTree data collection process.
The field trip took partners to Coruche county, where they spent a day learning about the NWFP of Alentejo, the StarTree case study region in Portugal. The morning included a visit to stone pine and cork oak stands, with a presentation in the field from Forest Association manager, Conceição Santos Silva. Then followed a visit to Europe's largest cork mill, Amorim, with a detailed and informative visual demonstration of the cork production process, including how wine stoppers are manufactured.
Coruche is described as the World Capital of Cork, with 50% of the county covered by cork oak. Participants spent the afternoon at the Coruche Cork Observatory, which supports and promotes research and training in the cork sector, linking universities, regional actors and businesses for innovation and economic development.
Stakeholders from the Alentejo Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) gave presentations on cork and cork products, mushrooms, pine nuts and resin and took part in a fruitful Knowledge Exhange Event during with StarTree partners on ideas and experiences about various NWFP.
StarTree is financed through the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission under the research theme 'Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology' funded to foster a Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE).