And then there is the issue of the millions of acres of Brazilian rainforest being cleared for vast screwcap plantations.
Oh, sorry, the coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet.... You make good points, alea, especially in echoing what the article says about "more profitable cultivations". But I find problematic the idea of tying ecology to economy. If the latter is dependent on the former, all well and good; but if the former is dependent on the latter, I think you have trouble, because it means ecological concerns will be cast aside when the economic factors change. Seeing to it that the maintenance of cork forests is in a landowner's best interest is a good thing, I suppose (and I say that without any real knowledge of the ecology of such forests); but landowners are naturally wary of governments telling them what to do with their land. It's a tricky thing, I imagine, and I am only musing on what I would guess are some of the issues involved. But again, I think it's worth noting how and why stories like this get into the press in the first place, and seeing, as I suggested above, where quoted "experts" are getting their bread buttered.