I have told you that two types of plantations are being established, one for the production of factory bark and one for the production of pharmaceutical bark. The first type consists of either pure Ledgeriana-Moens SEEDLINGS, or Ledgeriana-Moens GRAFTS on SUCCIRUBRA rootstock. The second type consists of pure SUCCIRUBRA SEEDLINGS. The HARVESTING METHOD of these types differs significantly, due to the purpose for which the bark is used and the large difference in quinine content of the stem, branch, and root barks. The pure Ledgeriana seedling is therefore Ledgeriana from top to bottom. The Ledgeriana graft on Succirubra rootstock has noble high-quinine stem and branch barks and low-quinine root bark. The pure Succirubra has low-quinine root bark and a very special stem and branch bark that requires specific treatment, due to the purpose for which it will be used.

If a pure Ledgeriana Seedling is uprooted, the tree is first carefully stripped of its branches by sawing them off - not by chopping, as chopping creates splinters and contamination of the bark should be avoided. Then, when only the stem is left standing, it is stripped of a generous bark cuff just above the always visible graft site, and then felled by sawing or chopping. The wood parts are then collected as much as possible, the tree is rid of any soil adhering to it, and is beaten with wooden hammers to loosen the bark. This is then brought to the "factory" in coarse pieces in a bag and laid to dry with the other stem barks.

The root is carefully excavated, cleaned, and then stripped of its bark in the same way, by beating, after which this bark is collected as pure Ledgeriana root bark. If a sick tree is uprooted too late, the bark no longer comes off and this is pure loss. If sometimes, due to climatic conditions, the bark is very firmly attached to the stems, branches, or roots, it is removed with a bone object, usually a sharpened buffalo rib. Iron or steel tools are preferably not used to prevent the barks from turning black. As you know, iron reacts with the tannic acid always present in the barks, creating ink and causing discoloration.

The harvesting of the Ledgeriana graft on Succirubra rootstock is treated in the same way, with extra care taken to separate the root bark due to the very large difference in quinine content.

The harvest of the Succirubra bark presents a completely different picture. In contrast to the Ledgerianas, the tree is an upright, approximately 15 to 20-meter tall tree, while the Ledgerianas never grow "higher" than about 13 meters. The branching is very moderate; only at the top does the Succirubra show crown formation with small branches.

On the other hand, the Ledgeriana can already form very decent lateral branches at a height of 5 to 6 meters. On the Succirubra, at a height of about 1 meter, a horizontal bark incision is made and perpendicular to it, downward - depending on the circumference of the tree - several longitudinal cuts are made with an inevitable, very sharp knife. The bark is then carefully removed in slices with a buffalo rib, without touching anything, and brought to the drying racks, if possible rolled up.

After that, the tree is felled with great care, usually lowered with hoists onto prepared trestles, and the peeling process begins along the entire length of the trunk. From these barks, pipes, diamond-shaped pieces, and discs are made, each of which can command its price on the international market. The employees of the various companies always took pride in seeing their pharmaceutical barks valued at high prices.

So, in short, the process of bark harvesting is described, but you may wonder what happened to the "hen" that laid the golden eggs after a few years. This issue, the CONTINUITY of bark supplies, has always been the burning issue in cinchona bark harvesting. Indeed, harvesting the bark kills the tree, kills the producer. The carefree "cascarillos", the bark collectors from the rainforests in South America, initially thought that the supply of cinchona trees could never run out, they engaged in "slash-and-burn" practices, clearing the trees they encountered and stripping them of their barks without ever planting a tree. Out of laziness, sometimes only the bark up to reach height around the tree was harvested, and the tree was left to its fate.

To this day, a cinchona enterprise has never been established in any of the countries of origin! When cultivation took off in Java and harvesting could begin, vertical bark strips were initially cut from the tree and the wounds were covered with moss to promote healing. The trees were also cut at "stump" and the shoots were exploited as new saplings. Another system involved gradually replanting the gardens from which the diseased or suppressed specimens were removed.

All of these systems, however, have been abandoned. The "stump" system was abandoned because it was later realized that the roots continued to grow and thus competed with each other underground, making it impossible to expect normal growth of the shoots. And the "interplanting" system was abandoned because the shade of the remaining trees, especially the "drip" - to which the cinchona proved to be very sensitive - greatly hindered the proper development of the interplanted saplings.

Ultimately, for a specific garden complex, the system of ROTATION was found. Through experimentation, it was determined:

A) the bark value of a specific area, B) the annual increase in bark.

The interest on the capital represented in the "garden" was then harvested, and it was regularly checked whether the "capital" remained intact. As soon as a certain decline in bark growth could be observed, it was time to clear the entire garden. For different types of grafts and seedlings, these times were determined through years of experimentation, and the entire planting and clearing policy of the enterprise was thereby established.

For Java, times between 22 and 27 years were found. Based on this, the enterprise could divide the plantation into approximately 30 to 35 equal sections, clear them entirely at regular intervals, and replant after brief reforestation and soil treatment.

The word "reforestation" requires some explanation. Normally it means: reforestation, so after clearing a forest, replanting the same area with forest trees. The word "reforestation" is used in cinchona cultivation to mean the replanting of cleared areas with forest trees, but these forest trees will only be used for a very short time and will never grow into forest giants. In cinchona cultivation, the word actually means: Green manuring through temporary forest tree planting, pruning of them, and burial of the green waste.

For years, the quinine planters had been searching for a cover crop that was capable of penetrating the soil to a depth of one and a half to 2 meters, thereby promoting soil fertility. After extensive searching in various parts of the world, seeds of approximately 35 species of Acacias were received from Australia. After careful selection, some of these proved to be excellent for the purpose: rapidly providing the newly available lands from the clearing of quinine plantations with a new nitrogen injection and maintaining the soil structure suitable for new forest culture, as quinine culture is essentially forest culture.

These Acacia species were cultivated even before clearing, and were planted as two to three feet high "stumo" at a distance of about one and a half to 2 feet on the regenerating terrain. After establishment, they were pruned and the pruned material was carefully spread on the terrain. The tree species imported from Australia performed so well that often, with each pruning, layers of pruned material 30-40 cm thick could remain on the fertilized soil. It was estimated that there would be about 3 prunings per year, and after two and a half to 3 years, the trees could be cleared and the greatly improved soil, which remained loose up to about 2 meters, could be reused. As a rule, the young acacia saplings that were cleared were still used as ground cover in the young gardens, so that nothing but advantages were associated with this manipulation.