Environment and biodiversity are integral topics in the USPC exam. Both the IAS Prelims syllabus and the IAS mains mention these topics. Check out the UPSC syllabus and pattern here.
UPSC Prelims: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization General Science.
UPSC Mains: Paper-III General Studies-III 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Most IAS aspirants worry about these topics as they are not as ‘concrete’ as other topics like History or Indian Economy. The study material is not as ‘time-tested’ as in other subjects. Also, there is a very high correlation to current affairs in these sections. So, you have to be very alert to any relevant news. Additionally, these topics are constantly in the news these days due to concerns about environment, climate change, etc. assuming more priority with governments and world bodies.
Don’t ignore these sections as the weightage given to environment is increasing every year. In the IAS prelims, between 15 and 20 questions are asked every year from this section.
- Read newspapers diligently. Know how to pick relevant issues and read more about the conceptual part of the issue in news. If the ‘Central Pollution Control Board’ is in the news for any reason, read more about this body like when it was constituted, etc.
- You can also expect questions on these topics which can be classified as under geography or biology/zoology.
Environment UPSC Book
Study material for environment and biodiversity:
- For static portions, refer to the NCERT textbooks. Geography (classes VI to XII), biology (classes XI and XII).
- India Year Books – chapters on environment and geography
- The Hindu newspaper
- Science Reporter magazine
Important topics to study in environment and biodiversity:
- Biodiversity – importance for human survival, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, biodiversity hot spots, Red Data Book.
- General topics from environmental ecology – terms such as ecotone, ecosystems, effects of environmental degradation, food chain, etc.
- Pollution – acid rain, smog, greenhouse gases, algal bloom, ozone layer.
- Sustainable Development – renewable energy sources, bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, biomass gasification.
- Conservation – conservation of natural resources, wildlife conservation, national parks, wetlands, biosphere reserves.
- Climate change – Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol, climate change summits held.
- Ecologically sensitive areas – Western Ghats, Himalayas.
- Laws, regulatory bodies and policies at national and international level – Environment Protection Act, National Biodiversity Authority, Forest Right Act, protocols and summits like Nagoya Protocol, Cartagena Protocol and Lima Conference, etc.
- UNEP, FAO, UNESCO, etc.
- Ramsar Convention, Montreux Record, the three Rio Conventions—Convention on Biological Diversity (CoB), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – from the 1992 Earth Summit, etc.
- Carbon trading and leakage issues, Kyoto mechanism, emission trading, etc.
Environment and Ecology UPSC Questions
Some examples of previous questions:
QUESTION FROM 2014 IAS PRELIMS:
- Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environment(Protection) Act, 1986.
- National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body.
- National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister.
Which of the statements given above is/ are correct?
- a) 1 only
- b) 2 and 3 only
- c) 2 only
- d) 1, 2 and 3
QUESTION FROM 2011 IAS PRELIMS:
- Q) The Himalayan Range is very rich in species diversity. Which one among the following is the most appropriate reason for this phenomenon?
- It has a high rainfall that supports luxuriant vegetative growth.
- It is a confluence of different bio-geographical zones.
- Exotic and invasive species have not been introduced in this region.
- It has less human interference.
|Environment and ecology books for IAS|
|Preparation Strategy for Environment, Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change|