IAS Prelims: How to prepare for Ecology, Environment, Biodiversity & Climate change

Updated On -

Jan 5, 2017

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Simran Nigam

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Civil services examination is the most prestigious examination conducted by UPSC for recruitment to All India Services. Ecology, Environment, Biodiversity & Climate change is the most unsettling part for civil services aspirants in prelims exam. Candidates must be aware that there is no study material which can be thought of complete in itself. The weightage allocated to this section has increased in IAS Exam. In this article, we are discussing preparation, resources, strategy and some general questions of prelims exam.

Introduction to Ecology, Environment, Biodiversity & Climate change

Let us look at IAS Prelims exam conducted over the past few years and analyze the turn around these sections. These sections are considerably higher than any other section in IAS prelims exam. Candidate cannot ignore this sections for IAS prelims 2017. They can go through following table for the details of the trend as mentioned below:

Year No. of questions asked
2011 21
2012 23
2013 22
2014 31
2015 13
2016 10

Read about IAS Exam Preparation Tips

IAS Prelims 2017: Preparation tips & Study guide

The candidate has managed to score well in this section. There is the very little additional effort required to crack IAS prelims examination.


The preparation mostly depends on the right resources. Candidate’s first step should be identifying the correct study material for Ecology, Environment, Biodiversity & climate change section. Here, the best set of books that would help to score well in this section of IAS Prelims 2017 examination.

  • NCERT Geography – Standard VI to XI
  • NCERT Science – Standard VII to X
  • NCERT Economy – Standard XI
  • NCERT Biology – Standard XII
  • NCERT Chemistry – Standard XII
  • Shankar IAS – Environment
  • ICSE Books- Standard X & XI
  • India Year Book
  • Orient Blackswan School Atlas
  • Hindu Official website
  • Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses by Erach Bharucha
  • Ecology and environment by P. D. Sharma.
  • Down to Earth Magazine
  • Science Reporter
  • Economic Survey of India

Preparation Strategy for IAS Prelims 2017

Candidate can begin with NCERTs listed above. Once they are with these, they may jump to the sample papers. Only selective chapters relevant for Ecology, Environment & Biodiversity are to be read. They need to look at the previously asked questions from these sections of IAS prelims exam. If candidates need a simpler explanation of various terms, conventions etc. look it up on mentioned books. They should focus on getting the questions on the basics of Ecology, Environment & Biodiversity right. After that, take up the India Year Book that particular year. Read the following chapters from this book for IAS exam 2017 which are Energy, Land & people, Environment, States & UT’s.

We are discussing some additional preparation tips to get more score in IAS exam.

  • Get familiar with current format – Candidate must check the exam pattern and types of questions from the past few years.
  • Keep updated your knowledge – Read newspaper and magazines daily. Keep track of what is happening across the country.
  • Do more practice – Try to do practice more questions. Candidate needs to enroll for a good test series to attempt questions based on current affairs.

IAS Prelims 2016 Environment & Ecology Questions

We are providing some previous year questions of IAS Prelims. Candidate can read these questions to know about the level of examination.

Q1. In the cities of our country, which among the following atmospheric gases are normally considered in calculating the value of Air Quality Index?

  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Carbon monoxide
  3. Sulfur dioxide
  4. Methane

Q2. 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 the century does not exceed 2 Celsius or even 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibilities in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climatic change.

Q3. The term ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of

  1. Pledges made by the European countries to rehabilitate refugees from the war-affected Middle East
  2. Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change
  3. Capital contributed by the member countries in the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  4. Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world regarding Sustainable Development Goals.

Q4. In which of the following regions of India are you most likely to come across the ‘Great Indian Hornbill’ in its nature habitat?

  1. Sand deserts of northwest India
  2. Higher Himalayas of Jammu and Kashmir
  3. Salt marshes of western Gujarat.
  4. Western Ghats

Q5. Consider the following pairs:

Terms sometimes seen in the news                            their origin

  1. Annex- I Countries:                                          Cartagena Protocol
  2. Certified Emissions Reductions:                        Nagoya Protocol
  3. Clean Development Mechanism:                      Kyoto Protocol

Q6. What is/are the unique about the ‘Kharai Camel’ a breed found in India

  1. It is capable of swimming up three kilometers in seawater
  2. Its survives by grazing on mangroves
  3. It lives in the wild and cannot be domesticated

Q7. What is ‘greenhouse gas protocol ‘?

Q8. With reference to ‘Agenda 21’, sometimes seen in the news, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a global action plan for sustainable development.
  2. It originated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.