General Overview of Area and History of Assessment
The site is located on the slopes of Vardenis Mountain Ridge in elevation range from 1,200 to 2,700 m a.s.l. The site was assessed as IBA in 2002 (BirdLife International 2002).
There are 123 species of birds recorded in the area, among which 84 are breeding and 39 occur during migration or found in breeding season having this site as part of their foraging range. Gndasar area is important for breeding populations of high mountain species. Also soaring migrants, like storks, cranes, and raptors, sometimes make congregations here.
The area of IBA belongs to community however about 40% of it is given in a long-term rent.
The IBA is located at the southern slopes of the ridge, and its lower part is covered by shrublands, alternated by arid mountain steppe areas. With increase of elevation the landscape changes towards grassy mountain steppe, then – meadow, and then – sub-alpine carpets. The rigorous terrain of Gndasar IBA is reach with rocks, cliffs, and screes, and at the middle is cut by a deep canyon. While in lower part the scarce juniper woodlands are found, the numerous gorges are hosting remains of deciduous woodlands.
Almost entire area is used as a pastureland for nomadic grazing by surrounding communities. Smaller portion is allocated for haymaking, which faces obstacles of the difficult terrain. Also the area is included in the seasonal hunting sites.
Gndasar IBAs natural grasslands may suffer with the intensification of pasture use, which can cause overgrazing with all the subsequent issues of soil erosion, which is particularly dangerous at this steep area. Additional threats are expected from poaching, since the level of inspection of hunting is substantially low, and in the same time the current state of hunters’ responsibility is at the developing stage.