This mountain region is the depository of ancient Mediterranean, eastern Mediterranean and the younger mountains of Central Asia. Found in the Gissaro-Alai are a number of endemic Central Asian montane species that often are localized to specific mountain ranges. Characteristic vegetation types include coniferous evergreen woodland of Juniperus species, ephemeroid herb vegetation, as well as unique fruit and relict nut forests. Spectacular red tulips (Tulipa micheliana) display the beauty of some of the ephemeroid spring vegetation. The diversity of fauna is equally rich and includes threatened species such as snow leopards, Siberian ibex, Bukhara urial, and numerous birds, fishes, reptiles and amphibians. The moutain forests of Gissaro-Alai play a crucial role in protecting the soil from wind and water erosion that has resulted from forest clearing and overgrazing. Conservation measures leading to sustainability are implemented but need strengthening.
The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary is a legendary plant of central Asia, believed to grow sheep as its fruit. The sheep were connected to the plant by an umbilical cord and grazed the land around the plant. When all the plants were gone, both the plant and sheep died.
The Abnauayuis the Russian analog of Bigfoot/Sasquatch, said to roam the lands around the Caucasus mountain range. Like other potential relict hominid habitats, the Caucasus is heavily forested and sparsely populated in many areas, allowing plenty of room for both a large creature to roam and legends to grow.