An area of Asiatic Poplar ("Turanga") in the desert zone, near the Topar stream of the Ily river, several hundred meters from Zheltoranga village. Open forest with different age trees, including many old ones with holes, and a complex of hole-breeding birds. About half of the territory is open, with low grass and patches of scrub. There are some sand dunes.
There is a complex of hole-breeding and tree & bush species of the desert zone here. Of the breeding species, the most typical are: Tadorna ferruginea, Falco tinnunculus, Accipiter badius, Milvus migrans, Phasianus colchicus, Columba eversmanni, Otus brucei, Dendrocopus leucopterus, Upupa epops, Coracias garrulus, Sylvia curruca, Phylloscopus trochiloides, Luscinia megarhynchos, Parus bokharensis, Parus cyanus, Lanius phoenicuroides, Corvus monedula, Sturnus vulgaris, Acridotheres tristis, Passer ammodendri, and periodically, Buteo rufinus, Haliaeetus albicilla and Aquila heliaca are observed.
Non-bird biodiversity: Main wood species is turanga - Asiatic Poplar (Populus diversifolia). The common bushes are Halimodendron argenteum (about 50%), Tamarix spp. (30% ), Saxaul - Arthrophytum acutifolium (20%). Of grasses the most common is Teresken (Eurotia ceratoides), mainly on the sand hills; cereals are almost absent. The most common and numerous mammal is Citellus fulvus. Of reptiles the commonest are Elaphe dione and several species of Eremias spp.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threats are fires and overgrazing. Due to overgrazing, grass cover is low and young growth of poplars almost absent. There is disturbance to birds from domestic animals and locals.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The Project "Turanga" of the GEF/UNDP Small Grant Program was accomplished between 2001-2003 by the NGO "Balkhash Ecological Centre". The goal of the project was conservation of the forest, harmonization of interest of the local population and nature protection. Two plots of the forest with big trees were fenced each of them about 1.5 hectares - 100 x 150 m), for protection from domestic animals. Now, the plots have definitely higher grass and some young growth of poplars.
The forest is protected (not very strongly) by the local branch of the regional forest and hunting department. Incorporated into the area of Pribalkhashskiy Zakaznik.
Habitat and land use
All of the territory is used as a grazing area for sheep, goats, cows and horses from the nearest village. The locals collect fire-wood (mainly dry branches). Several field roads and two electric power lines cross the IBA.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Zheltoranga. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 08/03/2021.