HTRG Attains SFI® Certification on North American Timberlands

BOSTON, March 5, 2003 — Hancock Timber Resource Group (HTRG) announced that it has received certification for environmentally sound and sustainable forest management under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) Standard for its timberlands in the Southeast, Northeast and Pacific Northwest regions of the United States, and in British Columbia, Canada.

SFI®, a program of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), is one of the most widely applied and rigorous standards of sustainable forestry. Within the SFI program is a comprehensive system of principles, objectives and performance measures developed by professional foresters, conservationists and scientists that combines the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the long-term protection of wildlife, plants, soil and water quality.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the international independent auditing and accounting firm, notified HTRG in October of 2002 that HTRG had met all requirements under the latest 2002-2004 Standard established by the Sustainable Forestry Board, the organization responsible for maintaining the SFI Standard and certification procedures. PwC performed an independent, third-party audit of HTRG forest management practices on HTRG-managed properties between May and September 2002.

“We are very pleased to receive these positive third-party audit results. They are an important milestone for HTRG and its investors,” said Bruce McKnight, HTRG’s Director of Forest Operations and Stewardship. “The SFI Standard is comprehensive in its approach and sets high expectations of excellence. The SFI program’s philosophy of continual improvement also is consistent with our own stewardship philosophy.”

HTRG manages roughly 2.4 million acres in North America (as of December 31, 2002). Approximate regional holdings are as follows: Southeast: 1,680,000 acres; Northeast: 428,000 acres; Pacific Northwest: 260,000 acres; and British Columbia, Canada: 60,000 acres.
Boston-based HTRG is a division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc., a registered investment adviser and wholly-owned subsidiary of John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:JHF). John Hancock Financial Services, Inc., is a leading financial services company, providing a broad array of insurance and investment products and services to retail and institutional customers. As of December 31, 2002, Hancock and its subsidiaries had total assets under management of $127.6 billion.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative and SFI (http://www.aboutsfi.org) are registered service marks owned by the American Forest and Paper Association.