Environment Notes For UPSC Exam

Environmental concerns have taken a centre stage in the developmental dynamics of the 21st century. All the developmental activities have to pass the litmus test of environmental sustainability and have to make the necessary arrangement to offset the damage which may be caused due to the developmental activity.

As civil servant officers are responsible to take decisions on the implementation of the various developmental project by private and public entities, they must have a decent level of understanding of the environmental challenges and measures that must be taken to balance development with environment.

Thus Environment has become an important topic in civil services exam and every year the topic is widely covered in both prelims and Mains stage of the exam.



EcologyEcology is the study of the interrelationship between an organism and its physical environment. The goal of ecological studies is to find the distribution and abundance of the organisms in their physical environment. Ecological studies are carried out at various levels of ecological organization such as Individual, Population, ecosystem, biosphere etc. We have covered the topic of ecology in detail which you can access by clicking on the link given in the table below.



EcosystemAn ecosystem consists of a community of organisms together with its physical environment. An ecosystem can be very diverse both in size as well as the biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem. An ecosystem can be as small as a pond or as large as the rainforest of Amazone. To learn more about this topic you can click on the links given in the table below.


Terrestrial Ecosystem

Terrestrial ecosystem covers the land-based ecosystem also called as biomes. Due to the variation in the latitudes and altitude of a region, there is variation in the availability of energy in the ecosystem. Availability of water is another determining factor which changes the biotic as well as the abiotic conditions in an ecosystem. These differences give certain distinct character to terrestrial ecosystems which lead to a classification of the terrestrial ecosystems into Tundra, Desert, Grassland etc. To read details about each of the topic click on the links given in the table.

Aquatic Ecosystem

Aquatic ecosystemAquatic Ecosystem covers all the water-based ecosystems. They can be broadly subdivided into freshwater ecosystems and saline water ecosystem. The freshwater ecosystem includes lakes, ponds, rivers etc. whereas the saline water ecosystem includes, lagoons, lakes, mangroves, oceans, corals etc. Again, these aquatic ecosystems may vary depending upon the climatic conditions in the region where they are located, the impact of anthropogenic activity etc. To know more about the topic click on the links mentioned in the table below.


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Environmental Pollution

Environmental pollutionEnvironmental pollution has become a global issue in the 21st century, particularly in developing and under-developed nation. Environmental pollution has degraded the quality of life of people in these countries and has increased the diseases burden. However, tackling environmental pollution is a challenging task as it is multidimensional problem and so the effort required is also multidimensional. To know more about the challenges due to pollution and measures that can be taken to mitigate the harmful effect of environmental pollution click on the links given in the table below.

Renewable Energy

Renewable EnergyRenewable Energy is derived from sources that are considered inexhaustible. These sources are solar, wind, waves, geothermal etc. Due to the reckless use of fossil fuels in the 20th century, the level of carbon dioxide increased in the atmosphere which has triggered global warming. Renewable energy is the only solution which can help humanity to fight climate change and at the same time allow development activities to continue without damaging the environment. To know more about renewable energy sources, how energy is extracted from these sources click on the links given below in the table.



biodiversityBiodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth both in form and interactions. Biodiversity can be studied at different levels such as gene level, at the level of individual species, at a community level or an ecosystem level. In the past few centuries, anthropogenic activities have lead to unimaginable loss of biodiversity to fulfil its greed without knowing that their very survival depends on the well being of biodiversity on earth. However, awareness generated in the recent past has changed the scenario and now a conscious effort is being made to conserve and protect the biodiversity of the earth. To know more about biodiversity and efforts made to protect biodiversity click on the links mentioned in the table below.

Protected Areas

protected AreasProtected areas have been demarcated to conserve and protect wildlife in their natural environment. In India, the wildlife protection act 1972 made provisions to classify certain areas as protected areas where wildlife can thrive without any disturbance from human activity. Wildlife sanctuary and National Parks were demarcated to fulfil these objectives of wildlife act. At global level also various conservation efforts have been made. Organizations such as UNESCO, WWF etc. have identified biological hotspots, world natural heritage sites etc. and provide financial and technical support to countries to protect these areas. To read more about various types of protected areas, their objectives click on the links mentioned in the table below.

Conservation projects in India

Conservation projects in India were initiated as a dedicated effort to protect particular wild animals such as Tiger, Elephant, One Horned Rhino etc. These projects have helped to improve the population of wildlife and have prevented their extinction. Project Tiger was the first conservation projects which successfully increased the population of tiger in wild. After its success, various other projects were initiated to protect other endangered wildlife. To read more about these projects click on the links given in the table below.

Climate change and India's role towards its mitigation

Climate ChangeThe earth has undergone various climate change cycles. However, the current changes in climate are due to human activities and if sufficient measures are not taken it would be enough to wipe our species from the planet. There are numerous pieces of evidence which have hinted towards climate change. The average temperature of the earth has increased by 0.9 degrees C. Ice caps in Antartica and Greenland are melting like never before. The global community has off late realised the gravity of the situation and has started taking measures to minimise the damage done to the environment. India has also promised to fight against climate change. India is investing heavily in the renewable source of energy to fulfil its energy need and also taking other measures to decrease the carbon footprint. To know more click on the link mentioned in the table below.


International Organizations

International OrganizationEnvironmental problems are not isolated events. Air pollution in one part of the world may show its impact on other parts. So the solution to environmental cannot be developed in isolation. It needs consensus among the community of Nations and all the countries have to contribute to fighting against climate change and environmental problems. So there was the need for independent International organizations which can formulate plans to protect the global environment without any biases and influences. Since 1970's various such organizations have come up and have contributed to protecting the global environment.


Act and Policies in India to Protect Environment

environmental lawIndia has enacted various policies to protect its natural environment. The landmark being wildlife protection act of 1972. The Ministry of Environment is the nodal agency which formulates policies and looks after the implementation of these policies. India has also started Green Tribunals which is a unique initiative to provide justice in cases of climatic litigation. To know more about various such initiatives click on the links given in the table below.

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