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[APD] Bark identification

At 16:20 on 10 Mar 2008 Mary E. Sweeney held forth, thusly:

> I ordered a piece to get a look at it, and it's very lightweight with deep
> crevices. 

If it floats vigorously, and the underside looks like this:


(sorry, crappy cameraphone picture was the best I could do)

then it's almost certainly cork bark. If so, it is pretty much inert 
and will not harm plants or fish. Unlike some other kinds of wood and 
bark, it will never get waterlogged and sink. At least, I've had a 
piece in turtle ponds for about eight years now (the one in the 
photograph above), and it's not shown any signs of deterioration, 
rot, or waterlogging.

Cork is relatively sustainably raised and harvested. Stripping the 
bark properly does not kill the tree. I suppose there may be 
unscrupulous cork harvesters out there, but I don't think it's a 
widespread problem.

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