On January 4, Hearst and Manulife Investment Management announced the completion of a sale to Hearst of approximately 20,000 acres of sustainably managed forests in Northern California. The timberlands, which are located around McCloud, California, have a rich history of industrial forest management dating back to the initial settlement of the town of McCloud in 1897. The mixed species forests will be added to Hearst’s current timberland ownership of 62,000 acres in the same area operated by Hearst Forests, a subsidiary of Hearst.
Manulife Investment Management had been managing these forests on behalf of their investors since 1991. “We are pleased to announce this transaction as Manulife Investment Management and Hearst have a long history of forest management in Northern California,” said Tom Sarno, global head of timberland investments for Manulife Investment Management.
“Both groups share similar views on sustainability, stewardship, and the environment while continuing to support local jobs in the region,” Sarno added.
Hearst owns and sustainably manages a total of 238,000 acres of timber and ranchland in California, including the Hearst Ranch at San Simeon, the Jack Ranch east of Paso Robles, and Hearst Forests in McCloud.
This strategic acquisition will increase the Hearst Forests’ timberland base to nearly 82,000 acres in the productive McCloud River watershed in North Central California, where it began acquiring land in 1921. Hearst Forests manages the ownership under a selection-harvesting regime, guided by a voluntary Program Timberland Environmental Impact Report with the State of California and a Spotted Owl Management Plan with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. These agreements streamline the regulatory process and ensure the sustainable flow of timber and a variety of ecosystem services, including carbon storage, clean water, and wildlife habitat.
“This strategic acquisition increases Hearst’s timberland ownership to 82,000 acres in the productive McCloud, California wood basket,” said Steve Hearst, vice president and general manager of Hearst Western Properties. “Hearst began acquiring land in this area in 1921, and we look forward to stewarding this remarkable property through our sustainable timber management regime.”
When it comes to forest management in Northern California, both Manulife Investment Management and Hearst Forests share similar perspectives regarding sustainability, stewardship, and the environment.