Investing in nature

Investing in timberland and agriculture can help investors naturally reduce carbon in their investment portfolio.

  • Real assets and carbon sequestration

  • Natural climate solutions represent 37% of the opportunity to cost-effectively sequester carbon, which is what’s needed by 2030 to keep global warming below 2˚C.1

    Sustainable agricultural and timberland investing provides low-cost climate change solutions that act as a first line of defense for protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

    1, 2021.

Timberland and natural climate solutions

Acting as a significant carbon sink, forests are among the top natural climate solutions. Sound management with a focus on the conservation, restoration, and management of forests enables carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Our global timberland portfolio is 100% certified as sustainably managed in accordance with credible third-party certification programs, including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.

Agriculture and natural climate solutions

The trees and soil we manage on our farms have significant potential to sequester carbon. Our approach to regenerative practices builds soil health by enhancing organic matter and restoring soil biodiversity while increasing the soil's water-holding capacity and carbon sequestration.

100% of our U.S. farmlands are certified to Leading Harvest standards.2

2 As of May 17, 2021, includes both third-party leased and directly owned assets. Hancock Natural Resource Group is a founding member of Leading Harvest.

Over 30 years of experience sustainably managing and investing in natural resources

We're the world's largest timberland investment manager³ and a leading global agriculture manager. Our commitment to sustainability and responsible investing has been a core guiding principle since the inception of our timberland and agriculture businesses in 1985.

  • Leveraging our global size and scale

    Scale can provide enhanced acquisition access, production efficiencies, cost savings, and revenue enhancement opportunities.

  • Data-driven economic research program

    Our extensive proprietary research informs our investable universe, underpins our investment strategy, and supports our portfolio management decisions.

  • Integrated, sustainable, on-the-ground property management

    Providing our own integrated property management enhances alignment of interest and ensures that commitment to sustainability carries through from investment strategy development to on-the-ground strategy execution.

3 Fastmarkets RISI Global Timberland Ownership and Investment Database, as of June 30, 2020.

Why invest in real assets?

  • Portfolio diversification

    Portfolio diversification through low or negative correlation with traditional asset classes

  • Attractive risk/return characteristics

    May provide stable total returns and moderate unlevered income with relatively low volatility

  • Deliver performance sustainably

    Sustainability and responsible investing can enhance value and deliver market-rate returns

  • Create long-term value

    Long-term assets with appreciation potential can match portfolio investment horizons

  • Inflation-hedging ability

    Real assets have historically exhibited greater ability to hedge inflation than the broader equity and fixed-income markets

  • High global demand and rising incomes

    Demand for natural resources continues to grow as incomes increase in developing countries

Investments in timberland and agriculture have historically demonstrated low volatility and attractive risk-adjusted returns

Fixed income
Alternatives: U.S. private equity
Alternatives: U.S. commercial real estate
Alternatives: U.S. timberland and farmland

Sources: Data for timberland refers to the NCREIF Timberland Index, as of 12/31/20. Data for farmland refers to the NCREIF Farmland Index, as of 12/31/20. Data for commercial real estate refers to the NCREIF Property Index, as of 12/31/20. Data for small-cap equities refers to the Ibbotson series IA SBBI U.S. Small Stock TR USS, as of 12/31/20. Data for non-U.S. equities refers to the MSCI/EAFE International Equities Index, as of 12/31/20. Data for corporate bonds refers to the Ibbotson series IA SBBI U.S. LT Corp TR US$, as of 12/31/20. Data for U.S. Treasury bills refers to the Ibbotson series IA SBBI U.S. 30 Day Tbill TR US$, as of 12/31/20. Data for the CPI refers to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 12/31/20. The S&P 500 Index series is from Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, as of 12/31/20. Data for U.S. private equity refers to the Cambridge Associates Private Equity Index. as of 12/31/20. Data for U.S. forest products refers to the S&P Composite 1500 Paper and Forest Products series, as of 12/31/20.

Explore our strategies

Where we own and operate assets, we hold ourselves to a high standard of stewardship and sustainability. Where we don’t directly own assets, we're committed to intensive due diligence and engagement with our partners and asset owners.

  • More than 1 billion trees planted

    by our timberland management capability since 1985.

    Source: "2020 report on sustainability and responsible investing in timberland and agriculture," Manulife Investment Management, 2021.

  • 1.9 million metric tons of COremoved annually

    over the past five years through our managed forests and farmland.

  • 172 acres of pollinator habitat managed

    across our California orchards.


  • Thomas G. Sarno
    Thomas G. Sarno, Global Head of Timber Investments
  • Tony Cascio, Ph.D.
    Tony Cascio, Ph.D. , Managing Director and Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Timberland

We develop and manage fully integrated, globally diversified, sustainable timberland portfolios that capitalize on our size and strong regional relationships for the benefit of our clients. We’re the world’s largest global timberland investment manager for institutional investors, managing timberland across the United States and in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Brazil.

Learn more about our timberland capabilities


  • Oliver S. Williams IV, CFA
    Oliver S. Williams IV, CFA, Global Head of Agriculture Investments
  • Richard Bodio, Jr., CFA
    Richard Bodio, Jr., CFA, Managing Director, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Agriculture

We seek to create and manage customized, diversified, sustainable agricultural portfolios on behalf of our clients. We’re one of the largest institutional managers of agricultural real estate in the United States. We oversee more than 400,000 acres of prime farmland in major agricultural regions in the United States, Canada, Chile, and Australia.

Learn more about our agriculture capabilities

Integrating sustainability throughout the investment process

Through our five key sustainability priorities (ecosystem resiliency, watershed protection, climate stability, people empowerment, and community prosperity), our timberland and agriculture businesses integrate environmental, social, and governance factors throughout all aspects of their investment decision-making and property management.

Read our sustainability report for timberland and agriculture

Third-party sustainability certifications ensure environmental and social sustainability across timberland and agriculture assets


  1. Sustainable Forestry Initiative¹

  2. FSC²

  3. Leading Harvest³

  4. Global Change Program⁴

  5. WBCSD⁵

  6. Forest Carbon and Climate Program⁶

  7. American Farmland Trust⁷

  8. American Bird Conservancy⁸

  9. The Conservation Fund⁹

All logos are registered trademarks of the respective organizations/firms represented. Manulife IM is prompting each of the ESG actions shown through becoming a member of the respective programs or a partner with the organizations on these endeavours.

Related viewpoints

The U.S. farm economy in 2021

U.S. farm income rose in 2021 and is expected to continue improving into 2022. Learn more about the global headwinds and tailwinds faced by farmland investors in our in-depth review.
Read more

U.S. timberland investment prospects have taken a positive turn

A turnaround in capital appreciation for U.S. timberland reflects improved property valuations supported by strong pricing for transactions.
Read more

Valuing biodiversity: the tools at our disposal

We discuss an investor’s perspective of the current tools, incentives, and initiatives available to value biodiversity.
Read more

Maturing opportunity: where carbon markets and agriculture meet

Agricultural practices demonstrate significant potential for reducing greenhouse gases and boosting the carbon stored in farmland soils. Our natural resources team explores the rapidly changing landscape of agricultural carbon solutions and their markets.
Read more

Contact us

  • Nick Ping

    Managing Director, Institutional Business Asia Pacific, Timberland and Agriculture

    +61 3 9207 7503

  • Peter Kim

    Senior Managing Director, Head of Institutional Business, Asia Pacific

    852  6282 9685