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Location Kazakhstan, Almaty region
Central coordinates 78o 3.00' East  43o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 41,050 ha
Altitude 2,600 - 2,800m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)



Site description A high-mountain grassy, hilly plateau in the eastern part of the Zailyisky Alatau ridge (Northern Tian-Shan), at the upper border of the coniferous forest belt (tree-line ecotone, subalpine belt). The summer high-mountain pasture ("zhaylau") is an important foraging area for vultures. The plateau extends for 30 km east-west and 10 km south-north. There is one small river, the Assy, along the plateau, with a number of joining springs. The southern slopes surrounding the IBA are open, the northern slopes have patches of spruce forest, juniper scrub and scattered rocks.

Key Biodiversity Complex of birds of the subalpine belt and tree-line ecotone: Streptopelia orientalis, Pyrrhocorax graculus, Pyrrhocorax pyhrrocorax, Corvus monedula, C.corax, Parus ater, Serinus pusillus, Mycerobas carnipes, Carpodacus erythrinus, Carpodacus rhodochlamys, Carduelis caniceps, Emberiza cia etc. Near the river: Tadorna ferruginea, Charadrius dubius, Cinclus cinclus, single observations of Ibydorhyncha struthersii. Birds of prey: Aegypius monachus, Gyps himalayensis, Buteo buteo, Buteo rufinus, Milvus migrans, Aquila chrysaetos, Gypaetus barbatus, Falco tinnunculus, Falco naumanni, Falco subbuteo etc.

Non-bird biodiversity: Grassy vegetation of the plateau: Festuca sp, Poa sp., Agropyron sp., Geranium, Phlomis, Phleum, Potentilla, with Alchimilla etc at higher elevations. Spruce forest: Picea schrenkiana, with the inclusion of Sorbus tianschanica, Rosa sp., Lonicera sp. etc. Scrub: Juniperus pseudosabina, J. sabina. Mammals: Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, common - Marmota baibacina, a number of rodents. Reptiles: Agkistrodon halis, Ablepharus alaicus. Amphibia: Bufo viridis.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis resident  2005-2006  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus breeding  2002-2006  9-15 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis resident  2005-2006  15-20 individuals  good  A3  Near Threatened 
Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii breeding  2005  1-3 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus resident  2006  50 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus breeding  2006  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens breeding  2006  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta breeding  2006  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Fire-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus breeding  2006  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Plain Mountain-finch Leucosticte nemoricola resident  2006  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Red-mantled Rosefinch Carpodacus rhodochlamys breeding  2006  unknown  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2006 medium near favourable not assessed
Habitat
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Rocky areas   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Wetlands (inland)   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Alma-Atinskiy Zakaznik 724,000 protected area contains site 30,000  
Ile-Alatau National Nature Park 164,450 protected area is adjacent to site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Native coniferous  5%
Shrubland Juniper scrub  10%
Grassland Alpine, subalpine & boreal  80%
Rocky areas Scree, boulders & bare rocky areas  minor
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 100%
Notes: pasture for sheeps, cows, horses
nature conservation and research 100%
Notes: Almatinskiy Zakaznik

Protection status The IBA is situated within the Alma-Atinskiy Zakaznik and adjacent to the Ile-Alatauskiy State National Nature Park.

References Myrzabekov, Z.M. (2002). Specially protected nature areas of Kazakhstan: ecology, biodiversity and perspectives of development. Almaty. (in Russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Assy Plateau. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife