"It is an honor to be leading our organization as we recognize this achievement, but what we truly celebrate today are the hundreds of Hancock Timber and Hancock Forest Management employees who have managed our forests since 1985. Their hard work and commitment every day make our long held belief that 'good stewardship is good business' a reality," said Bill Peressini, HNRG Chief Executive Officer. "We also greatly appreciate our partnerships with conservation organizations. We look forward to working together to conserve working forests, which in turn will address critical issues including land use, water quality and climate change."
"Sustainability is a core value of our organization. We plant roughly two trees for every tree we harvest, an average of more than two and a half million a month for the last 30 years," said Brent Keefer, president of the Hancock Timber Resource Group. "Even before we harvest, we have plans in place to replant. Most of us won't be around to see those seedlings grow to maturity, but future generations will benefit from these forests."
The one billionth tree planted in McCloud was dedicated to the company's employees, stakeholders, business partners and future generations.
"Working forests are part of the essential green infrastructure of this country. They provide us with clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities and support more than 2 million jobs. In addition, they are a critical part of our nation's efforts to address climate change," said Larry Selzer, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Conservation Fund. "Hancock has been at the forefront of the sustainable management of our nation's working forests for more than three decades, conserving sites with high conservation value, promoting forest certification, and reforesting timberlands after harvest. This is a tremendous milestone for the company and we are proud to partner with them."
Mr. Keefer noted that the one billion seedlings, a $1.1 billion investment, have been planted on the properties it manages in the United States, Canada, South America, New Zealand and Australia.
These trees will provide enough wood to build more than 2 million homes and will store over their lifetime more than 730 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The seedlings would be enough to entirely reforest every acre within Rhode Island and Delaware, or create a six lane wide forest from Boston to San Francisco.
All of Hancock Timber's lands in North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand are certified by third-party auditors as sustainably managed, primarily through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program and Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®).
"We celebrate this significant and remarkable milestone with Hancock Timber," said Elizabeth Woodworth, SFI's Vice President of Communications and Community Engagement. "One billion trees can certainly be quantified. However, the benefits from those forests are immeasurable. We all enjoy clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, wildlife habitat and the myriad products that come from the millions of acres of Hancock-managed forests in the US certified to the SFI Standard. Hancock is truly a leader in environmental stewardship and SFI is proud to be a part of their responsible forestry framework."
Another key aspect of the organization's stewardship ethic is its Sensitive Lands Program. Hancock Timber has worked with numerous public agencies and private conservation groups to permanently protect and conserve more than 440,000 acres of land with vital environmental, recreation, scenic or historic value.
"The program benefits our clients because they receive fair market value for their property, and the public benefits because vital natural resources are protected," Mr. Keefer said. The McCloud Dogwood Butte Working Forest Conservation Easement is a perfect example of the program in action."
In July, Hancock Timber and the Pacific Forest Trust concluded an easement which permanently protects water resources, wildlife habitat, and jobs on the McCloud property, which will remain a working forest in perpetuity. Guided by the conservation easement terms, Hancock will continue to manage the forest for ecological and economic benefits.
"We were proud to partner with Hancock on this project. We applaud their long time commitment to conservation," said Connie Best, Co-CEO of Pacific Forest Trust. "As California's mountain headwaters region is a mix of public and private forestlands, we appreciate the commitment to protecting McCloud Dogwood Butte and other private forests in the Mount Shasta area, which are so important to ensuring the integrity of the watershed and keeping water sources safe for all the downstream cities and farms that depend on them."
The McCloud River flows to Lake Shasta, benefiting 25 million Californians downstream. This partnership increased the network of privately owned working forests conserved by Pacific Forest Trust in the McCloud watershed to more than 30,000 acres.
About the Hancock Timber Resource Group
The Hancock Timber Resource Group, founded in 1985, is a division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc., a unit of Manulife Asset Management Private Markets. Based in Boston, it manages approximately 6.3 million acres of timberland in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Canada, New Zealand and Australia on behalf of investors worldwide. Additional information about Hancock Timber may be found at www.hancocktimber.com.
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SOURCE Hancock Timber Resource Group