How to Prepare Environment and Ecology for UPSC CSE?

Physics Wallah Academic Expert
May 01, 2024

The latest update from UPSC regarding the Prelims Exam 2021, as of June 27th, 2021, has been released. This information provides candidates with extended preparation time for the IAS exam, which should be utilised effectively. This article aims to offer valuable insights and strategies for studying the Environment and Ecology UPSC topics included in the UPSC syllabus, specifically tailored for UPSC aspirants.


TABLE OF CONTENTS


  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - Syllabus
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - How to Prepare for UPSC Environment and Ecology
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - International Initiatives
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - National Initiatives
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - Environment Theory
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - National Parks, Reserves
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - Species
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - Chemicals and Pollutants
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - PW UPSC Environment Books to Refer
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - Strategy for UPSC Environment and Ecology Preparation
  • Environment and Ecology UPSC - Frequently Asked Questions


Environment and Ecology UPSC - Syllabus 


Let's begin by examining the section on the Environment and Ecology syllabus for UPSC, which focuses on the study of the natural world and its interconnectedness with human activities, emphasising the preservation and sustainability of our surroundings.


Under the Conservation topic, we have the following subtopics:


  • What is Biodiversity?
  • Types of Biodiversity – Genetic, Species, Ecosystem, etc.
  • Importance of Biodiversity – Ecosystem Services, BioResources of Economic Importance, Social Benefits, etc.
  • Reasons for Loss of Biodiversity
  • Conservation:
  • In-situ & Ex-Situ
  • Eco-Sensitive Areas
  • Ecological Hotspots
  • National Guidelines, Legislations & Other Programmes
  • International Agreements & Groupings


Topics included under Environment Pollution and Degradation are:


  • Types of Pollution & Pollutants
  • Impact of Pollution & Degradation
  • Ozone Layer Depletion and Ozone Hole
  • Greenhouse Gas Effect & Global Warming
  • Eutrophication
  • Desertification
  • Acid Rain
  • Hazardous Waste, etc.
  • Causes/Sources of Pollution & Degradation
  • Prevention & Control of Pollution & Degradation
  • National Environment Agencies, Legislations and Policies
  • International Environment Agencies & Agreements


Environment Impact Assessment consists of these sub-topics:


  • What is EIA?
  • Indian Guidelines & Legislations
  • EIA Process
  • Need & Benefits of EIA
  • Shortcomings of EIA in India
  • Measures to Make EIA Effective


These are the topics included under Disaster Management:


  • Types of Disasters
  • Management of Disasters
  • Community-Level Disaster Management
  • Government Initiatives on Disaster Management


The environment and ecology syllabus for the UPSC examination explicitly highlights the significance of environment and ecology for the UPSC exam. Notably, it holds importance due to its strong association with current affairs, adding a layer of complexity to its understanding.


Key terms such as climate change, ecosystem, sustainable development, and natural disasters frequently make headlines in the news. Furthermore, environmental topics possess connections to fundamental concepts in various disciplines, including geography, biology, botany, zoology, and even the economy.


Moreover, the realm of the environment extends beyond its scientific aspects and intertwines with policy and governance. This is evident in the numerous government initiatives aimed at safeguarding natural resources, preserving the environment, conserving flora and fauna, and addressing issues of pollution.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - PW UPSC Environment Books to Refer


Environment books for UPSC are a comprehensive resource for the environment and ecology in the UPSC exam. When it comes to preparing for the UPSC environment and ecology section, a variety of study materials can be utilised, including textbooks, newspapers, magazines, and fundamental books such as the NCERTs. Recommended Study Materials for UPSC Environment Syllabus


To effectively prepare for the Environment topic in the UPSC Civil Services examination, it is essential to utilize the most reliable and concise study materials available. PW environment book for UPSC to help with the same is as follows:


The UPSC Sampoorna Environment and Ecology Book 2023 Edition by PW is a one-stop solution for all your Environment and Ecology UPSC needs. This book provides a comprehensive knowledge of every topic included with the syllabus. This book encompasses:


  1. A comprehensive and detailed exploration of subjects that align with the essential demands and criteria of the UPSC Preliminary and Mains Examination.
  2. A single, all-encompassing solution that covers subjects and topics comprehensively and in an interconnected manner.
  3. Visual aids such as diagrams, flow charts, timelines, and comparative tables to facilitate quick comprehension and effortless revision.
  4. A unified and comprehensive approach to preparing for both the Preliminary and Mains stages of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.
  5. Assessment of topic understanding through the inclusion of Previous Year Questions from the Preliminary and Mains Examinations at the conclusion of each topic.


The book was published by PhysicsWallah Pvt Ltd in the year 2023. It consists of a total of 456 pages and is written in English.


Also Read:


UPSC Sampoorna Books Combo (Set of 19) | Civil Services Exam (OnlyIAS Book) (2023 Edition)

UPSC सम्पूर्ण Books Combo (set of 19) | Civil Services Exam (OnlyIAS Book) (2023 Edition) हिंदी


Environment and Ecology UPSC - How to Prepare for UPSC Environment and Ecology


Preparing for the UPSC prelims strategy for the environment and ecology section can be challenging due to the absence of a defined syllabus like other subjects such as history or geography. Additionally, there is no well-established book specifically tailored for this subject. Given the strong connection to current affairs, it is essential to regularly review newspapers and draw correlations with topics covered in recommended books.


A recommended approach to begin studying UPSC environment and ecology is to review previous years' question papers and analyze the questions related to this subject. By doing so, you can classify the topics into six main categories:


Environment and Ecology UPSC - International Initiatives


This section holds utmost significance in the UPSC environment and ecology section. It covers international conventions and organizations like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ramsar Convention, and others, both within and outside the United Nations.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - National Initiatives


This category encompasses various governmental initiatives focused on the environment, such as the National Solar Mission, the National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem, the National Mission for Sustainable Habitat, and more.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - Environment Theory


To cover this section, it is advisable to refer to a comprehensive environment book specifically designed for UPSC preparation. Pay attention to important concepts frequently mentioned in the news, such as the food chain, ecotone, biogeochemical cycle, biological oxygen demand, oligotrophy, and others. Many successful IAS toppers recommend the environment compilation from the book "Poor Man's Friend" for this purpose.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - National Parks, Reserves


This aspect holds significant potential for questions in the IAS exam. It is beneficial to mark the most important national parks on a map, aiding in the memorization of their locations. Additionally, make notes of key points about frequently mentioned national parks that appear in the news. Regularly following daily news analysis, where national parks and reserves are covered, can be highly useful.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - Species


When studying species, utilizing a book that includes vivid images of different species is recommended. This visual aid can enhance your retention of information. To determine which species to focus on, keep an eye on daily news updates. You may also consider watching video news analysis, such as "The Hindu," which covers relevant topics.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - Chemicals and Pollutants


The UPSC exam may feature questions regarding pollutants emitted from various sources or industries. It is essential to study the major greenhouse gases and be familiar with the different pollutants associated with their respective sources.


By following this structured approach, you can effectively prepare for the UPSC environment and ecology section, enhancing your chances of success.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - Strategy for UPSC Environment and Ecology Preparation


To effectively cover the Environment and Ecology UPSC syllabus for the UPSC exam, it is important to adopt a systematic approach. Here are some valuable tips to help you get started:


  1. Develop a habit of reading newspapers regularly. This will help you stay updated on current environmental issues.
  2. Extract relevant information pertaining to the environment from the newspapers you read. Focus on news articles that discuss environmental challenges, policies, and initiatives.
  3. Build a strong conceptual understanding of the key environmental issues you come across. This will help you integrate static (fundamental concepts) and dynamic (current affairs) aspects of the subject.
  4. Approach the topic from both prelims and main perspectives. Ensure that you prepare comprehensively, keeping in mind the requirements of both stages of the examination.
  5. Utilise NCERT books as they provide a solid foundation in general science and geography. However, be selective in your reading and concentrate on chapters specifically related to Ecology, Environment, Biodiversity, and Climate Change.
  6. Refer to the relevant chapters in NCERT books for terms and definitions associated with the subject. 
  7. Pay close attention to information about publications, organizations, issues, treaties, and other significant aspects of the environment. Take notes on these topics and stay updated on current affairs related to them.
  8. Analyse previous years' question papers to understand the nature and pattern of questions asked in the exam. 
  9. Practice multiple-choice questions to test and reinforce your knowledge. This will aid in the revision of the topics you have studied.
  10. Stay updated on national and international environmental issues of importance. Current affairs play a crucial role in the UPSC examination, and being aware of the latest developments will enhance your understanding of the subject.
  11. Regularly practice answer writing to strengthen your conceptual understanding and improve your ability to articulate your knowledge effectively.
  12. Engage in mock tests to simulate the exam environment and assess your learning progress.


By following these tips diligently and relying on the recommended sources of study, you will be well-prepared for the UPSC Environment and Ecology section. Consistent practice and implementation of these strategies will enable you to acquire the necessary knowledge, retain relevant information, and confidently write well-structured answers on the day of the exam.


Environment and Ecology UPSC - Frequently Asked Questions


Q1. How can I prepare for Environment & Ecology in the UPSC exam?

Ans. To prepare for the Environment & Ecology section of the UPSC exam, it is recommended to review the previous year's question papers to gain a good understanding of the important topics. 


Q2. Which book is considered the best for studying Environment in the UPSC exam?

Ans. For preparing the Environment & Ecology UPSC section for UPSC Prelims, you can refer to the NCERT textbooks on Geography (classes VI to XII) and Biology (classes XI and XII), Shankar IAS Environment Book (Latest Edition), as well as the India Year Book's Environment and Geography chapters.


Q3. Apart from books, what other sources can be used to prepare for the Environment & Ecology section of the UPSC exam?

Ans. Candidates preparing for the Environment & Ecology section of the UPSC Prelims can follow newspapers like The Hindu and Down to Earth, as well as magazines like Science Reporter. It is also beneficial to keep track of official websites such as the Ministry of Environment, UNFCCC, UNEP, and others.


Q4. Is it possible to cover the Environment & Ecology section of the UPSC exam in 3 months?

Ans. Yes, with an effective strategy and a well-planned study schedule, it is possible to efficiently cover the Environment & Ecology section for the UPSC exam. Start by reading the recommended books and study materials to understand the exam pattern and syllabus.


Q5. What are the important topics in the UPSC Environment & Ecology section?

Ans. Based on previous year's trends, some of the important topics in the Environment & Ecology section of the UPSC Prelims include the National Biodiversity Authority, CAMPA, the function of ecosystems, types of biodiversity, and the Wildlife Protection Act, among others.






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