Selection 2

When thinning out the Cinchona plantations, the method for selection was briefly described. It involved determining the value of a tree in comparison to those surrounding it. I would like to briefly describe the process of assessing the true value of a new graft.

The planter will notice that a certain seedling looks more robust than another. Perhaps the branching is better, the trunk straighter. Perhaps the tree stands out due to other characteristics that make it stand out as a "tree" among others. Perhaps it is also the harvester who draws the planter's attention to an extra thick bark formation - whatever the case may be - a specific seedling is chosen to be compared with the grafts, of which everything is already known, and which are used for specific soils, special flat or sloping terrains, etc.

In the old days, people did not believe in the now very established fact that a specific tree of a certain species could be "better" or "worse" than another. To prove these possibilities - which now sounds almost unbelievable - there were, for example, rubber trees on the Tjirandji plantation - later the producer of extraordinary Hevea clones. These were simply dug up with their roots and transplanted to other locations, next to trees with which they were to be compared. The old planters thought that the superiority or inferiority of a tree was solely a matter of "better" conditions, and not of "inner" constitution! They should have known better and compared the trees with their offspring! The differences in these kinds of "seedlings" are very clear to all of us!

Grafts are then made from the seedling to be examined, and if a sufficient number is available, these can be compared with others. In the past, this was done with plots of 20 by 20 meters, which were planted next to each other with various grafts, and their yields could be compared by weighing and analyzing the resulting product. A further evolution in selection was that the plots were not placed next to each other, but were laid out in a checkerboard pattern. And the two or more types of grafts being compared were confronted with known types more than once.

In this way, it was already possible to exclude the possible differences in soil, which could have an influence on the types of quinine trees. However, this method had the major disadvantage of requiring a large amount of terrain, and finding relatively even terrain in the mountains was almost impossible. Therefore, this method was also abandoned. The invention of the hollow pipe comparison method, credited to the former director of the Government Quinine Plantation: Dr. M. Kerbosch, made it possible to gain insight into the characteristics of the trees during their development. In order to minimize the influence of soil differences, the quinine tree cuttings were planted in very long rows next to each other, allowing for a comprehensive test with dozens of species to be conducted in a relatively small area.

This method significantly accelerated the selection process and contributed greatly to the improvement of plantations in Java and Sumatra. In terms of numbers, the progress of quinine cultivation is as follows: In the early 1920s, when South America was still the sole supplier, the global consumption of quinine was 14,000 kg. By the 1990s, this had increased to 70,000 kg thanks to organized cultivation. In 1913, as a result of the Ledgeriana-Moens species, 500,000 kg of quinine could be produced, a number that rose to 800,000 kg just before the war. This came from 12,000,000 kg of bark, which represents an average quinine content of six and a half percent, including both root bark and stem bark. This 12,000,000 kg of bark was obtained from approximately 140 plantations covering a total of 20,000 hectares.

The Government's Quinine Enterprise Tjinjiroean supplied 10% of the world's production for a long time, while the entire Dutch East Indies supplied 90% of all quinine in the world. ..... And when I think back to my time in Indonesia, up there on that plateau, high above the South coast..... then I truly believe that I can conclude, with all my heart, that the quinine culture has been exempted from its all-consuming wave. I truly believe that the small Netherlands, with its quinine culture, "has achieved something great", something great for Indonesia, for the world, and perhaps also for.... itself. Thank you for your attention.