After 1656 the Dutch, who had gained control over the Moluccas, chose the islands that could be most easily defended. They then burned all the nutmeg trees on the other islands to make sure no one else could profit from the trees. Anyone caught trying to smuggle nutmeg out of the Moluccas was put to death. The Dutch also dipped all their nutmegs in lime (a caustic substance) to stop the seed from sprouting and to prevent people from planting their own trees. Pigeons, however, defied these Dutch precautions. Birds could eat nutmeg fruits, fly to another island and leave the seeds behind in their droppings.