Win up to 100% Scholarship

Register Now

Environment & Ecology: Previous Year Question Analysis

The UPSC Prelims syllabus includes a significant section on the environment and ecology. It is essential because of how deeply this section is connected with current events. It overlaps with other areas covered in the IAS examination, including geography, economics, and social issues.

The IAS prelims and mains exams each year include several questions from this subject. The IAS Prelims in 2019 had 21 questions from the Environment and Ecology Section. This might increase in the upcoming UPSC exam if we take some important topics, such as conservation, climate change, etc., into consideration.

Enroll now for UPSC Online Course

With this mentioned previous year question analysis, clearing the UPSC Prelims becomes tough if the Environment and Ecology portion is not completed thoroughly. Learn more about the previous year question analysis, syllabus, preparation tips, important topics, and more about Environment & Ecology section only at PWOnlyIAS.

Environment & Ecology Questions Analysis

The “Environmental and Ecology” section plays a significant role in the Prelims exam for UPSC. The importance of the section mentioned above in the IAS Prelims Exam has significantly increased since UPSC announced the modifications in 2011 by combining the preliminary exams for UPSC IAS Prelims and UPSC IFS (Forest Services).

Enroll now for UPSC Online Classes  

The previous year’s question analysis table below shows that from 2011 to 2019, it provides the number of questions from the Environment and Ecology section that came in the UPSC CSE preliminary exams.

Year No.of Questions
2011 21
2012 23
2013 22
2014 31
2015 13
2016 10
2017 15
2018 13
2019 21

The IAS prelims examination contains approximately 20 questions from the Environment & Ecology section. Hence, you cannot avoid the subject, and with thorough preparation, you can have the potential to earn good scores.

Environment & Ecology MCQs Analysis

Most of the questions particularly asked from this portion are concise and factual. As mentioned from the previous year question analysis earlier, approximately 21 questions came from this section.

Enroll now for UPSC Online Coaching 

Environmental basics (such as climate change, climate agreements, biodiversity, etc.), pollution and government pollution control programs, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), REDD+, IUCN, Earth Hour, Montreux Record, animals and their conservation status, Red List, etc. are some of the essential topics covered in this section.

Learn more: Importance of Environment Notes for UPSC

Environment & Ecology: Syllabus Overview

Your first step in preparing for the UPSC exam should be thoroughly understanding the UPSC Environment Syllabus. Check out the detailed Environment syllabus for UPSC listed in the table below.

Topics Sub-Topics
Environment and Ecology Basic Understandings:

  • Properties, Components of Ecosystem
  • Levels of Organism;
  • Categories, Components, and Features of Environment;
  • Biotic and Abiotic Factors
Biogeochemical Cycles:

  • Nutrient Cycle;
  • Sedimentary Cycle;
  • Gaseous Cycle
Types of Ecosystems:

  • Ecosystem Conservation;
  • Changes in the Ecosystem;
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem, Aquatic Ecosystem

  • Air pollution
  • Noise Pollution
  • Plastics Pollution
  • Radioactive Pollution
  • Soil Pollution
  • Thermal Pollution
  • Water pollution
Land Degradation:

  • Soil Conservation
  • Problems due to Excessive Irrigation
  • Soil Erosion;
  • Sustainable Land Management, Desertification;
  • Causes and Impact of Land Degradation
Waste Management:

  • Biomedical Waste;
  • e-waste Management;
  • Hazardous Waste;
  • Solid Waste Management
Environmental Impact Assessment:

Need for EIA, EIA Cycle and procedure

Biodiversity Indian Biodiversity:

  • Flora and Fauna Diversity
  • Indian Wildlife;
  • Indian Bio-Geographical Classification
  • Threatened Species of India
  • Critically Endangered Species of India;
  • IUCN Red Data Book Categories
  • Biodiversity Conservation Efforts in India;
  • Biodiversity Laws, Policies, and Programmes;
  • Biodiversity Convention and Protocols
Climate Change Basic Understandings:

  • Greenhouse Gases and Green House Effects;
  • Global warming and its Potential;
  • Ozone depletion;
  • Ocean Acidification
India and Climate Change:

  • Mitigation Strategies;
  • Climate Change in India
Climate Change Organizations:

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;
  • UNFCCC and its mechanism;
  • Kyoto Protocol (2nd Commitment);
  • IPCC Reports;
  • Conference of Parties
Other topics related to Environment & Ecology Different Environmental Institutions and their measures;

  • Environmental Organizations;
  • Environment Issues and health effects;
  • International Organizations and Conventions;
  • Important Acts and Policies


Enroll now for UPSC Online Course

Environment & Ecology: Important Topics to Review

All topics are significant, although some are more essential than others based on the pattern of the UPSC’s question papers from the previous year. Here is a list of topics and sub-topics based on the previous year question analysis that are quite essential than the others:

Topics Sub-Topics
International Environmental Conventions
  • Rio summit and its outcomes
  • Ramsar Convention on wetlands
  • Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS)
  • IUCN
  • Stockholm, Rotterdam, and Basel convention
  • UN convention to combat Desertification
  • Vienna Convention
  • Montreal Protocol

Apart from these mentioned above, other conventions under the aegis of the United Nations are also important.

Environmental Organisations
  • National Biodiversity Authority
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau
  • Animal Welfare Board
  • Central Zoo Authority
Environmental Acts and Policies
  • Wildlife protection act, Environment protection act, Biological Diversity act, Forest Right Act
  • Forest policy, wetland rule, NGT, ozone-depleting substance rule.
  • Clean energy fund
  • Wildlife action plan
  • National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board
  • Mangrove for future
  • Also other such relevant institutions that are in the news
Climate Change
  • Climate change organizations: UNFCCC, Kyoto protocol, REDD/REDD+, IPCC, Green Economy
  • Impact of climate change: impact on India, India’s position on Climate change, NICRA, Green Buildings, NAPCC, Nation Communication.
  • Ozone depletion
  • Mitigation strategies: Carbon Sequestration, Carbon sink, Carbon credit, Carbon offsetting, Carbon tax.
  • Ocean acidification.
  • Biodiversity types, services, level, and measurement.
  • Protected area network: Wildlife sanctuaries, National Parks, Sacred Grooves, Biosphere Reserves, Biodiversity hotspots.
  • conservation efforts: Project Tiger, Project Elephant, Project Hangul, Ganges Dolphin, Crocodile conservation
  • List of wildlife protection
  • Function of Ecosystem, energy flow, food web, the food chain.
  • Concept like Ecotone, and ecological succession.
  • Aquatic ecosystem: Lake ecology, Eutrophication, Mangrove system, Coral reefs.
  • Environmental pollution: E-waste, Air pollution, Fly Ash, Smog, Bioremediation, Indoor air pollution.


Enroll now for UPSC Online Classes  

Environment & Ecology: Study Materials to Prepare from

Students should choose Environment and Ecology UPSC books that thoroughly covers all the fundamental ideas and facts. Aside from this book, you should cover all other study material from newspapers, magazines, etc. Students should choose one essential environment book for the UPSC and stick with it.

  • National and International Issues from Yojana Magazine and Hindu Newspaper
  • Environmental Studies – Benny Joseph
  • Certificate Physical & Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong (Second Half of the Book)
  • Environmental Studies Textbook by Erach Barucha
  • Down to Earth and Science Reporter
  • NCERT Class XII Biology
  • ICSE books – Class 10th and 11th
  • P.D. Sharma for Ecology & Environment
  • The chapter on Climate Change from Economic Survey
  • India Year Book (Chapters on Environment).

Preparation Tips to Ace in Environment & Ecology Section

There is no specific UPSC syllabus for the environment topic like there is for geography and history, which is the primary issue with this topic. This section, like other standard subjects, has no time-tested textbook. However, you can follow these tips to ace this section.

  • Review the syllabus: Check the complete UPSC environment and ecology syllabus, analyze it, and try to remember the key points so that you can map them in your mind. You’ll be able to weed out pointless reading material and stay focused on your preparation.
  • Study the Biology Class XII NCERT Book: All introductory and basic level ideas are precisely covered in the final four chapters of the Biology Class XII NCERT Book. Therefore, reading this book would familiarise you with the key terms from an exam’s perspective.
  • PYQs to Solve: UPSC Question Papers will provide you with a basic understanding of the difficulty level of the questions presented and help you choose your resources very carefully.
  • Learn current affairs for the UPSC: When it comes to environmental issues, current affairs is the most essential domain. Read and write UPSC notes based on editorials from the Hindu and the top periodicals, such as Kurukshetra and Yojana Reports. Continue to revise your handwritten notes to retain the theories and notions.

Enroll now for UPSC Online Coaching 


The following articles given in the table below can be referred to for UPSC IAS exam preparation:
UPSC Prelims GS Syllabus UPSC Prelims CSAT Syllabus
UPSC Prelims Cut Off UPSC Prelims Notes
UPSC Prelims Toppers Notes UPSC Prelims Booklist By Pwonlyias

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1) Which environment notes are best for UPSC?

Ans: PWOnlyIAS Environment notes for UPSC are best for the students to prepare for the Environment & Ecology section. It also provides DPPs and Mock tests so that you can prepare and evaluate accordingly.

Q2) Is environment and ecology important for UPSC?

Ans: Yes, Environment and Ecology section for UPSC is important as the conducting board introduced this section formally in 2011. This section urges the candidates to learn about the recent activities around the environment, climate change and global warming and prepare so as to take necessary steps in their periphery.

Q3) Who is the father of ecology UPSC?

Ans: Ramdeo Mishra, an environmental scientist is known as the father of Ecology. He has made most of the noteworthy contributions in the field of Environment and Ecology. Candidates preparing for this section should know more about him and his contributions as it might be asked in the exam.

Q4) Who is best teacher for environment and ecology UPSC?

Ans: The faculty members at PWOnlyIAS are expert in delivering lectures on Environment and Ecology for UPSC exam so that the candidates can learn more and prepare accordingly for the exam. They help to make understand the students the difficult concepts and ideas in a simple and concise language.

Q5) In three months, can I cover Environment & Ecology for UPSC Prelims?

Ans: Yes, you may effectively cover Environment & Ecology for UPSC Prelims with an effective strategy and well-rounded study plan. Start reading the right books and study resources, and take a quick look at the question papers from the previous years to get a sense of the format and key points. Additionally, make sure the other segments of the UPSC Prelims syllabus are balanced properly.

 Final Result – CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION, 2023.   Udaan-Prelims Wallah ( Static ) booklets 2024 released both in english and hindi : Download from Here!     Download UPSC Mains 2023 Question Papers PDF  Free Initiative links -1) Download Prahaar 3.0 for Mains Current Affairs PDF both in English and Hindi 2) Daily Main Answer Writing  , 3) Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis and quiz ,  4) PDF Downloads  UPSC Prelims 2023 Trend Analysis cut-off and answer key


Learn From India's Best Faculty


 Final Result – CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION, 2023.   Udaan-Prelims Wallah ( Static ) booklets 2024 released both in english and hindi : Download from Here!     Download UPSC Mains 2023 Question Papers PDF  Free Initiative links -1) Download Prahaar 3.0 for Mains Current Affairs PDF both in English and Hindi 2) Daily Main Answer Writing  , 3) Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis and quiz ,  4) PDF Downloads  UPSC Prelims 2023 Trend Analysis cut-off and answer key

Quick Revise Now !
Comprehensive coverage with a concise format
Integration of PYQ within the booklet
Designed as per recent trends of Prelims questions
हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध
Quick Revise Now !
Comprehensive coverage with a concise format
Integration of PYQ within the booklet
Designed as per recent trends of Prelims questions
हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध

<div class="new-fform">


    Subscribe our Newsletter
    Sign up now for our exclusive newsletter and be the first to know about our latest Initiatives, Quality Content, and much more.
    *Promise! We won't spam you.
    Yes! I want to Subscribe.