The IBA covers a major portion of the hilly uplands 55 km to the south-east of Astana. The main part of the area is situated on the outskirts of the south-eastern quarter of Akmola region with the southern extension, running mainly north-south, extending to the northern frontier zone of Karaganda region. The district centre of Ereymentau is located on the northern edge of the site and there are several settlements, including Algabas, Baimen and Ornek Novokamena, within the IBA.
The hilly uplands consist of a system of parallel ranges stretching in a east-west direction. Towards the eastern end of the area the landscape is predominately rocky with sparse forest cover. There are also areas of dry steppe. A few rivers run down from the mountains and support patches of alder forest (Alnus sp) in boggy areas. The lower slopes have scattered stands of coppiced deciduous forest - birch-aspen assemblage, with birch tending to be dominant.
Being a combination of forest and steppe, the site supports an interesting mix of species. Ereymentau forest is the southern boundary of northern breeding species such as Buteo buteo, Pernis apivorus, Accipiter gentilis and Strix uralensis, and the northernmost location for breeding Aquila nipalensis. The area is also important for raptors including Aquila heliaca, Aquila chrysaetos, Circus macrourus, Falco vespertinus and Otus scops.
Non-bird biodiversity: A good population of Ovis ammon collium inhabits the Ereymentau hill ranges. Marmota bobak are numerous in the vicinities of both the State Nature Preserve and the hunting facility “Gornoye”.
Habitat and land use
As the site has protected area status, agricultural activities are restricted to low intensity grazing, principally on the immediate outskirts of settlements.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Despite the control, by a few hunting societies, over the illegal persecution of local game species, poaching and unorganized hunting are not uncommon. Intrusions, including hunting and logging incursions, into the pristine parts of the territory are resulting in disturbances that are prone to aggravate the equilibrium of the local ecosystems, damaging the essential value of the habitats traditionally attractive to raptors.
Ereymentau State Nature Reserve (Zakaznik) lies within the proposed IBA and the site would receive additional protection if the proposed Buyratausky State National Nature Park is established.