How to study Environmental Issues for Civil Services Prelims?

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Environmental Sciences are not only getting attention by the environmentalists but they are becoming important in the realm of Civil Services Examinations too. General Studies turn out to be quite a decisive factor for achieving success in IAS exams and the recent inclination of UPSC towards environmental issues in GS questions is quite conspicuous.

The syllabus for prelims states that the Paper I will comprise of General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-Diversity and Climate Change.

The statement issued by the Ministry clearly states that the examination does not require subject specialization; the test is of the awareness of the student about his surroundings. So the main course of action for the preparation of this subject includes reading some journals like that of National Institute of Ecology and State of Environment Report. Apart from this surfing on the internet about recent developments in the field can help a lot.

Below are some of the questions pertaining to environmental issues asked in recent years:

  1. Which one of the following terms describes not only the physical space occupied by an organism, but also its functional role in the community of organisms?

(a) Ecotone                         (b) Ecological niche                          (c) Habitat                           (d) Home range

  1. With reference to food chains in ecosystems, consider the following statements:
  2. A food chain illustrates the order in which a chain of organisms feed upon each other.
  3. Food chains are found within the population of a species.
  4. A food chain illustrates the numbers of each organism which are eaten by others.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only                             (b) 1 and 2 only                                                 (c) 1, 2 and 3                       (d) None

  1. Photochemical smog is a resultant of the reaction among

(a) NO2, O3, and peroxyacetyl nitrate in the presence of sunlight.

(b) CO, O2 and peroxyacetyl nitrate in the presence of sunlight.

(c) CO, CO2, and NO2 at low temperature.

(d) High concentration of NO2, O3 and CO in the evening.

  1. Consider the following statements:
  2. Biodiversity hotspots are located only in tropical regions.
  3. India has four bio-diversity hotspots i.e. Eastern Himalayas, Western Himalayas, Western Ghats and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 only                             (c) Both 1 and 2                                 (d) neither 1 nor 2

  1. Consider the following statements:
  2. The Taxus tree naturally found in the Himalayas.
  3. The Taxus tree is listed in the Red Data Book.
  4. A drug called ‘taxol’ is obtained from Taxus tree is effective against Parkinson’s disease.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only                             (b) 1 and 2 only                                                 (c) 2 and 3 only                                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Consider the following pairs: Protected Area Well Known for
  2. Bhitarkanika, Orissa – Salt Water Crocodile
  3. Desert National Park- Great Indian Bustard
  4. Eravikulam, Kerala- Hoolak Gibbon

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only                             (b) 1 and 2 only                                                 (c) 2 only                              (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. India is a party to the Ramsar Convention and has declared many areas as Ramsar Sites.

Which of the following statements best describes as to how we should maintain these sites in the context of this Convention?

(a) Keep all the sites completely inaccessible to man so that they will not be exploited.

(b) Conserve all the sites through ecosystem approach and permit tourism and recreation only.

(c) Conserve all the sites through ecosystem approach for a period without any exploitation, with specific criteria and specific period for each site, and then allow sustainable use of them by future generations.

(d) Conserve all the sites through ecosystem approach and allow their simultaneous Sustainable use.

  1. Consider the following statements:
  2. Salt-water crocodile is found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  3. Shrew and tapir are found in the Western Ghats of the Malabar region.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 only                             (c) Both 1 and 2                                 (d) Neither 1 nor 2

Recent year questions indicate that biodiversity has gained an advantage over the core academic knowledge of ecosystems. The students must try to assimilate as much knowledge as possible about the species in endangered list with more emphasis on those belonging to the Indian Territory. Also wetlands of India under Ramsar convention should be known to the students. With these simple endeavours, you can score good score in GS.

 

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