The topography of this vast area, c.120 km south-east of Shahrud, includes arid mountains and desert plains with desert, semi-desert and steppe vegetation, and borders on the salt wastes of the great Dasht-i Kavir desert in the south. The climate is very dry, with most precipitation falling as thunderstorms in spring. Summers are extremely hot, and winters cold. There is Artemisia and Artemisia-Zygophyllum steppe in the north, and mainly sparsely vegetated sandy and stony plains and bare saltflats in the south. According to Spooner (1977), both flora and mammalian fauna generally show great affinity to the Kara Kum desert in Turkmenistan to the north. Land ownership is public.
See box for key species. The reserve has the characteristic desert avifauna of Iran’s central plateau, and is an important breeding area for Chlamydotis undulata. Podoces pleskei is a fairly common resident (max. 8 birds) in areas of Zygophyllum steppe in the south and south-east. Other notable species include Cursorius cursor, Pterocles coronatus, Ammomanes cincturus, Melanocorypha bimaculata, Alauda gulgula, Hirundo obsoleta, Hippolais rama, Sylvia nana and Rhodopechys githaginea. A wide variety of passerines has been recorded at the many small oases during spring and autumn migration, including Phylloscopus trochiloides nitidus and Remiz coronatus (one record, 1975). At least 164 species have been recorded in the reserve.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: 65 species recorded, including Canis lupus (V), Caracal caracal (rare), Panthera pardus (rare), Acinonyx jubatus (V), Gazella subgutturosa (rare), Gazella dorcas fuscifrons (V), Capra hircus aegagrus (rare) and Ovis ammon (rare). The reserve is particularly important for Equus hemionus (V), with c.700 individuals in the mid-1970s. Flora: at least 375 species of plant have been recorded.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Touran. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/07/2020.