In Ethiopia, deforestation is a major challenge which leads to increased human encroachment upon wild areas and threats to biodiversity. In line with this, the aim of the current study was to assess woody species diversity and threats in Hotessa forest. Systematic sampling method was used to collect vegetation data. Accordingly, 100 plots each with 400 m2 (20 m × 20 m) for woody species was laid along transect line. In each of these plots, all woody species were collected. Simple random sampling was used to identify target population and in-depth interviews were conducted with farmers living in close vicinity to the forest to identify challenges and threats on the forest. A total of 43 woody species distributed to 37 genera and 28 families were identified and documented. Fabaceae is the dominant families in terms of species richness. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index computed for the three different altitudinal gradients and showed that lower altitude is the most diverse and has more or less even distribution of species. In general, the diversity and evenness of woody species in the forest was 2.575 and 0.98 respectively. The result of analysis of the responses to human-induced factors responsible for deforestation in the study revealed that most of the respondents attributed population growth (80.82%) as the major factor responsible for deforestation in the study area.
Key words: Diversity index, Shannon-Wiener, farmers, interview, sampling.