Nurturing Economic Growth in Atlanta and Beyond
By John Casey
It’s unlikely that Atlanta residents will ever spot bunchers or skidders driving down Peachtree Road, but that doesn’t mean that the forestry industry is not prevalent within the city limits. As the top state in the nation for forestry, Georgia’s urban metropolitan areas are teeming with forestry jobs — just maybe not the kind you are used to seeing.
While skyscrapers and city lights dominate Atlanta’s cityscape, the economic impact of forestry quietly weaves its way into its urban fabric. The city is home to several mills, manufacturing facilities for forest products, freight centers and the headquarters of multiple forest products companies listed in the Fortune 500. According to a 2021 study led by the Georgia Forestry Commission and Georgia Institute for Technology, the region encompassed by the Atlanta Regional Commission is responsible for more than 12,500 jobs with over $1.1 billion in wages and benefits.
That’s nearly a quarter of the forestry jobs in the state, and accounts for over $6.6 billion in economic impact.In fact, it’s the top region for forestry jobs and economic impact in the state, dwarfing the other 11 regions.Standing tall in the city’s skyline, Georgia-Pacific’s headquarters in downtown Atlanta hold a lion’s share of the regional jobs, employing approximately 3,000 people in the region.
“Our headquarters in Atlanta and our manufacturing operations in urban areas across the state provide for thousands of good, safe and well-paying jobs,” said John Mulcahy, vice president of stewardship at Georgia-Pacific. “We provide people with the income and safe working conditions necessary to be a vibrant part of their communities, including in our home city of Atlanta.”
Georgia-Pacific employs another nearly 2,000 administrative and manufacturing employees across its facilities in other urban metro areas across Georgia, including Savannah, Augusta, Brunswick and Rome. In total, the company directly employs more than 7,600 in the state. Georgia-Pacific has also created an estimated 23,000 additional indirect jobs — many of which are in urban metropolitan areas — as a result of its operations.
“We want more managed, sustainable forests right here in Georgia that provide more products and more housing in metro Atlanta. We want people in metro Atlanta to understand that by using these products, they’re supporting rural economies and the ecosystem services that those forests provide.”
— Tiffanie Starr, Managing Director of Acquisitions,Timberland Resource Company