The IBA is located in the north-west of Turkmenistan, between the Gaplankyr plateau and the Garashor depression. The site is 105 km in length. Administratively the site is located in Balkan and Dashoguz regions.
The IBA lies on the western edge of the Gaplangyr plateau and consists of a sharp escarpment of tectonic origin and the Garashor depression. The height of the cliffs in relation to the depression varies from 150 to 320 m, increasing to the north where the cliffs are highest, and the solonchak in the depression the lowest (-19 m). The cliffs are a mixture of stony-chalky strata cut by numerous eolations, jagged edges, ledges, niches, cracks and gullies. The site can be divided into a system of abrupt cliffs (in the upper belt), large deep ravines and gullies (in the middle belt), and the depression (the lower belt). In the depression there are small salty lakes. In the centre of the solonchaks a channel deflects surface water and partially groundwaters, and forms the western border of the IBA. Along to highest areas there is a narrow strip of clay-rubble with Anabasis salsa communities and Artemisia kemrudica, A. diffusa etc lying on grey-brown desert soils. In the numerous ravines and gullies which hold water only during rains, a more varied mix of soil-vegetation is observed. In deep depressions there are solonchaks with rare halophytes and, between them on gentle slopes, hilly sands with ephemerals and small shrubs. However, these usually occupy only a small area in comparison with the solonchaks. The average annual temperature is +12C, with a maximum of +43C and a minimum of –30C. The annual rainfall is about 100 mm.
The avifauna consists of 102 species. Non-migratory (resident) - 8 species (Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug, Columba livia, Bubo bubo, Athene noctua, Corvus ruficollis and Scotocerca inquieta), 28 passage and nesting species (breeding visitors) (Circaetus gallicus, Neophron percnopterus, Falco tinnunculus, Apus apus and Apus melba etc.), 93 passage and 8 wintering species. Species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Circaetus gallicus, Aquila heliaca, Aquila chrysaetos, Aegypius monachus, Falco peregrinus, Falco naumanni, Falco cherrug and Bubo bubo.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include Cuon alpinus, Mellivora capensis, Felis caracal and Hystrix indica. Species in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Mellivora capensis, Hyaena hyaena (possibly extinct), Felis manul (possibly extinct), Felis caracal and Hystrix indica.
Gaplangyr state reserve.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Garashor. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/05/2022.