UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2021: Check Important Topics to Study from Environment & Ecology for Preparation

Check the most important topics from the Environment & Ecology section for the preparation of UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2021 exam to be held on June 27.

Important Topics from Environment & Ecology
Important Topics from Environment & Ecology

Environment and Ecology is one of the most important topics vastly covered in the UPSC (IAS) Prelims exam. The section covers the entire ecosystem and hence includes every aspect of the biosphere. With so much to study and just two months left for the UPSC Prelims exam, it is suggested that the aspirants should revise the most important topics first. In this article, we have covered all the important topics which should be a part of your Prelims revision process.


Biodiversity is one of the major and important topics of Environment syllabus. Important topics to study in this section are:

  • Biodiversity at Global, National, and Local stages
  • Major hotspots of Biodiversity
  • Endangered and endemic species
  • Plants and Animal Species
  • Conservation of Biodiversity 

UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2021: Subject-Wise Study Material for Preparation/ Revision

Let's have a look at the questions asked in the previous years' prelims exam from this topic

Ques Consider the following statements:

  1. Some species of turtles are herbivores.
  2. Some species of fish are herbivores.
  3. Some species of marine mammals are herbivores.
  4. Some species of snakes are viviparous.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(e) 2 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: d

Ques In India, if a species of tortoise is declared protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, what does it imply ?

(a) It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger.

(b) It no longer exists in the wild, a few individuals are under captive protection; and now it is impossible to prevent its extinction.

(c) It is endemic to a particular region of India.

(d) Both (b) and (c) stated above are correct in this context.

Answer. a

Also Check: UPSC 2021 (IAS) Prelims: Important Questions from Environment & Ecology Section

Social Issues and Environment

Topics related to environment conservation, biodiversity conservation are important topics from the examination perspective. Aspirants should revise the following mentioned topics during their exam preparation.

  • Water conservation
  • Animal Rights
  • Climate change
  • Global Warming
  • Wasteland Reclamation
  • Protection and Conservation Acts 

Let's look at some questions previously asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims Examination:

Ques  According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which of the following animals cannot be hunted by any person except under some provisions provided by law?

  1. Gharial
  2. Indian wild ass
  3. Wild buffalo

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer. d

Ques Consider the following statements

As per law, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority exists at both National and State levels.

People's participation is mandatory in the compensatory afforestation programmes carried out under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016.

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

Answer: a

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One of the most common and well-known topics, Pollution is the major concern throughout the world. Questions on the following topics can be asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims Exams 2020: 

  • Types and Cause of Pollution
  • Soil Degradation
  • Nuclear Hazards
  • Waste Management
  • Disaster Management

Let's look at some questions previously asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims Examination:

Ques 'Project Loon', sometimes seen in the news, is related to

(a) waste management technology

(b) wireless communication technology

(c) solar power production technology

(d) water conservation technology

Answer. b

Ques In the context of solving pollution problems, what is/are the advantage/advantages of bioremediation technique?

  1. It is a technique for cleaning up pollution by enhancing the same biodegradation process that occurs in nature.
  2. Any contaminant with heavy metals such as cadmium and lead can be readily and completely treated by bioremediation using microorganisms.
  3. Genetic engineering can be used to create microorganisms specifically designed for bioremediation.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer. c

Role of IT in Environment 

With technology touching every aspect of our lives, environment and ecology are directly affected by its impact. Every year 1-2 questions are asked in the exam related to this topic. 

Let's have a look at the questions asked in the previous years' prelims exam from this topic

Ques "Momentum for Change : Climate Neutral Now" is an initiative launched by

(a) The Intergovernmentai Panel on Climate Change

(b) The UNEP Secretariat

(c) The UNFCCC Secretariat

(d) The World Meteorological Organisation


Ques:  With reference to the Genetically Modified mustard (GM mustard) developed in India, consider the following statements :

GM mustard has the genes of a soil bacterium that give the plant the property of pest-resistance to a wide variety of pests.

GM mustard has the genes that allow the plant cross-pollination and hybridization.

GM mustard has been developed jointly by the IARI and Punjab Agricultural University.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a)1 and 3 only

(b)2 only

(c)2 and 3 only

(d)1, 2 and 3

Answer. b

 National and International Organisations related to Environment Conservation & monitoring

There are various organizations working on National and International platforms for the conservation and development of environment and ecology. With the world experiencing major environmental changes in the present, these organizations take major steps and enforce rules and acts for the welfare of society. 

Some of the questions asked on these organizations in the past years’ prelims exam:

Ques With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2 °C or even 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer . b

Ques: Consider the following statements:

  1. Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is the first regulatory body set up by the Government of India.
  2. One of the tasks of PNGRB is to, ensure competitive markets for gas.
  3. Appeals against the decisions of PNGRB go before the Appellate Tribunals for Electricity.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3     

Answer: b

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