The area (about 1192 ha) is located at the southern slopes of Meghri mountain ridge at elevations from 748 to 1572 m above sea level. The average steepness of slopes is from 10˚ to 20˚. The area includes wormwood semi-desert, variegated semi-desert, scrub semi-desert, juniper woodland, and riparian scrubs. Dominant vegetation among herbs are wormwood (Artemisia sp.), Kochia sp., devil's-milk (Euphorbia sp.), feather grass (Stipa sp.); among scrubs are Atraphaxis sp., Christ's-thorn (Paliurus spina-christi); among trees are Juniper (Juniperus polycarpos), Mulberry (Morus sp.), Hackberry (Celtis glabrata). The area is characterized by dry climate, with long and hot summers and short, mild winters.
Description of butterfly diversity:
Number of butterfly species in the area – 67 (29% of total number of species in Armenia). None of the species is included in the IUCN Red List, 4 species are included in European Red List, 3 species are included in National Red Data Book. The species of national and international concern are:
Carcharodus lavatherae, Papilio alexanor, Zegris eupheme, Proterebia afra, Chazara briseis, Tomares romanovi, Chilades trochylus, Pseudophilotes vicrama.
Major threats are related to habitat change due to road construction and intensification of horticulture. The road construction in this rigorous terrain destroys habitat at 50-100m each side and fragments the habitat. The recent intensification of horticulture has led to the occupation of new areas without environmental assessment. A less intensive threat is from the free grazing of livestock (mainly cattle, goats, and sheep) at the area from March to June that removes host-plants of key species and destroys productive top-soil at the slopes by feet of livestock. These threats affect all the species of the area but are especially dangerous for the Hairstreak Tomares romanovi, which is represented in the region by two isolated populations, and the Grass Jewel Chilades trochylus, which has only one known population in Armenia located in the Svanidzor area. Another threat is related to collection of wild eatable herbs and the Ferula sp., which might affect the distribution and abundance of the Southern Swallowtail Papilio alexanor, via elimination of its host-plant.
About 95% of the area is within the borders of Zangezur Biosphere Complex. The remaining 5% however includes breeding areas distribution of all the species of special concern including significant portions of isolated populations of Tomares romanovi and Chilades trochylus. However there is a need to strengthen protection regime of the area and to control level of grazing. Such restrictions will obviously influence local inhabitants, that is why it is important to allocate alternative pastures for the spring season, or develop farm-type of livestock husbandry. Development of ecotourism in the area will provide the local inhabitants with additional income possibilities. During 2014 in cooperation with the staff of National Park Arevik (now Zangezur Biosphere Complex) the protection measures have been discussed and a butterfly-watching trail "Shvanidzor" was designed. Also the training was provided to the rangers of Arevik National Park for identification of species and trail guiding. The area is also a part of Key Birding Sites of Armenia.