The forest products industry is the largest manufacturing industry in the state of Alabama, valued at almost $1.25 billion in 2011. Alabama has the second largest timberland base in the entire United States, and nearly 86 percent of all land in the five CGEDA counties is timberland. The timberland area in this region has actually increased since 1990, and nearly twice as much is harvested annually as it was roughly 30 years ago.
In addition to being the largest manufacturing industry in the state, forest products are also the fourth largest exporter in all of Alabama. At the Port of Mobile, forest products are second only to coal as the leading exporting commodity.
Timberlands in the five-county area are more than 97 percent privately owned, which is highly favorable for industrial use. In 2011, landowners with CGEDA’s area sold 7.2 million tons of timber. In 2010, Rocky Creek Lumber Co. in Monroe County began an expansion project to bring an additional 20 jobs to the area.