Timberland investment

Creating value through the sustainable management of timberland assets

Why timberland?

Timberland investments have long demonstrated strong financial results and can provide portfolio diversification and potential inflation protection while positively affecting global communities by the sustainable management of timberland assets. As nature-based solutions, forests provide positive social and environmental impacts by sequestering carbon, providing wildlife habitats, and offering other ecosystem services such as providing clean water or recreational opportunities.

Growing global demand for timber provides investors with an opportunity to benefit from favorable supply and demand dynamics, underpinned by strong macro factors, including mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The growing number of corporate commitments to net zero emissions and global attention to climate change and carbon markets is creating new opportunities to manage forests for carbon value in addition to timber value.

What sets us apart?

As the world’s largest timberland investment manager,¹ our experience, size, and scale allow us to access a wider array of markets with reduced operating risk. Our experience has honed our ability to drive additional ecological, social, and financial value on behalf of our investors through other value-added strategies such as recreation and renewable energy leases as well as conservation carbon projects. As a responsible steward of timberland, and a producer of sustainable fiber and solid wood products, we’re committed to conducting our business in a way that improves our environment, nourishes our communities, empowers our people, and delivers performance for our clients.

  • Rooted in sustainability

    Our commitment to sustainability has been a core guiding principle embedded in our strategy and operations since inception.

  • Global scale

    Our operating history has shown that scale may provide enhanced acquisition access, production efficiencies, cost savings, and revenue enhancement opportunities.

  • Integrated property management

    Vertically integrated platforms enhance alignment of interests, reduce costs, and increase our capacity to deliver value, and ensure that our commitment to sustainability is carried through from strategy to execution.

  • Focus on performance

    Our timberland investment program has provided competitive performance since inception.

  • Proprietary research

    Our research capabilities inform our investable universe, underpin our investment strategy, and support portfolio management decisions.

Fastmarkets RISI Global Timberland Ownership and Investment Database as of March 11, 2022. This ranking is based on total assets under management.

As of November 15, 2021, Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc. renamed to Manulife Investment Management Timberland and Agriculture Inc.

Committed to sustainable investing

Timberland provides investors with an opportunity to invest in assets that contribute to solutions to pressing environmental and social challenges, including climate change, nature loss, and rising inequality. We strive to play a positive role in confronting these global challenges, by making long-term investments in timberland, and the rural communities that cultivate it.

Read about our approach to sustainability
  • We’re committed

    We conduct our business activities in a manner that recognizes the need to preserve and enhance the quality of our environment and local communities.

  • We’re credible

    We’re able to demonstrate transparency around our own greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, and third-party certification.

    Our global forests are 100% managed in accordance with third-party sustainability standards.

  • We’re accountable

    We manage our timberland investments to achieve key priorities of our sustainability and responsible investing program and support climate change mitigation across our forests. 

Click here to read our recent annual sustainability and responsible investing report that includes our performance against metrics aligned with each of our five key sustainability and responsible investing priorities as well as other external standards, such as the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and third-party certification system objectives. 

Annual sustainability and responsible investing report

Our recent annual sustainability and responsible investing report includes our performance against metrics aligned with each of our five key SRI priorities as well as other external standards, such as the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and third-party certification system objectives.

Read the report

Certifications, memberships, and selected affiliations

Timeline

  1. Sustainable Forestry Initiative¹

  2. Forest Stewardship Council²

  3. Global Impact Investing Network³

  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)⁴

  5. PRI⁵

  6. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)⁶

  7. Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification⁷

  8. California Air Resources Board⁸

  9. American Carbon Registry⁹

  10. New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme¹⁰

Our diversified portfolio

Sustainable investments in core, established markets, diversified by species, and geography.

Core timberland assets in established markets

Softwood plantations

These assets may include Southern yellow pine, Radiata pine, Douglas fir, western hemlock, Ponderosa pine. Uses include construction, pulp, paper, and packaging products.

Hardwood plantations

These assets may include eucalyptus species. Uses include pulp and paper, fuel, and charcoal.

Mixed natural forests

Naturally regenerated and can be found throughout the world, with the species composition dependent on the region. Mixed species forests have proved ecologically more valuable, providing versatile habitats and effective carbon sinks.

 

Data as of March 31, 2022. Portfolio snapshot chart displays timberland assets under management as a percentage of final market value ($11.2B) by region for Q1 2022. Totals may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

Our team

Focused on optimizing the performance of diversified timberland portfolios through the integration of our property and portfolio-level expertise.  

Thomas G. Sarno

Global Head of Timber Investments

Tom is responsible for the firm’s institutional timber investment program, including investment underwriting and portfolio management, acquisitions and dispositions, resource planning and analysis, client account management, economic research, and property management. Previously, he served as global head of timberland and farmland operations, where he developed and led large-scale, integrated, investor-owned, and third-party forestry property management platforms. 

Prior to that, he served as director of global timber operations. Tom has also served as senior portfolio manager, where he was responsible for account management and portfolio development for individually managed timber accounts, as well as pooled investment vehicles; and general manager, Southern Division and Mid-Atlantic region manager. In those roles, he led a team responsible for asset management, stewardship, and fiduciary oversight for managed assets in the South and Northeastern United States. Prior to joining the firm in 2004, Tom was a procurement manager for International Paper’s Pensacola paper mill and McDavid sawmill enterprise. Among other roles, he served as forest operations manager as well as forest analyst for Champion International Corporation.

  • Education: B.S. with honors, in Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida
  • Joined the company: 2004
  • Began career: 1995
Thomas G. Sarno

Nick Ping, Ph.D.

Managing Director and Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Timberland

As deputy CIO, Nick leads the development of new investment strategies and growth initiatives, client investment governance, and identifying and mitigating risk exposures related to our timberland investment process, products, and client investments.  He’s a member of the timber and agriculture investment committee and timberland investment strategy committee and is also directly involved with business development activities, structuring investment management agreements, and designing client investment goals and constraints. Prior to joining the firm in 2008, Nick coordinated the resource planning functions for HVP Plantations, a Manulife Investment Management Timberland and Agriculture-managed entity; he also worked at Pöyry Management Consulting, where he consulted on a variety of projects throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including forest appraisals, due diligence, and strategic planning. Nick is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a full member of the Institute of Foresters of Australia and the New Zealand Institute of Forestry. 

  • Education: B.S., Forest Science, Ph.D., Forest Science, University of Melbourne; M.B.A., Finance, Deakin University
  • Joined the company: 2008
  • Began career: 2001
Nick Ping, Ph.D.

Vehicles

Our timberland team has experience investing in global core and core-plus timberland assets through open-ended or closed-end commingled funds for the benefit of institutional investors. Individually managed accounts tailored to meet investor needs are also available.

  • Individual accounts    

    Individual accounts can offer investors a greater level of control over the strategies employed to meet their objectives and constraints. Individual accounts allow for portfolios to be tailored to meet investor-specific levels of risk tolerance, return targets, diversification, and cash flow needs but require a much larger capital contribution.

  • Commingled funds 

    A commingled fund—open or closed-ended—can offer investors access to a broadly diversified portfolio at lower levels of invested capital than could be attained by investing directly, but the commingled structure offers less individual investor control than an individual account. An open-ended portfolio allows investors to buy into an existing asset base.


Related viewpoints

High-integrity carbon benefits: our carbon principles

We present a credible, high-integrity, climate benefit methodology.
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

Global forest products are experiencing a major investment cycle

In our Q2 timberland investor report, we examine the significant uptick in investment in lumber, wood panel, and pulp facilities that is occurring in key timber producing regions around the world.
Read more

Contact us

  • Michael Strzelecki, CFA  

    Managing Director & Senior Portfolio Manager, Business Development, Timberland  

    +1 617-747-1501

    mstrzelecki@manulife.com