UPSC Prelims : Environment and Ecology Analysis part 5

2011 UPSC Prelims Questions and Solutions

  1. Biodiversity forms the basis for human existence in the following ways :
  1. Soil formation
  2. Prevention of soil erosion
  3. Recycling of waste
  4. Pollination of crops

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a.) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b.) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c.) 1 and 4 only

(d.) 1, 2, 3 and 4

  • Common sense.
  • Soil formation by humus
  • Prevention  of soil erosion by plants
  • Pollination by birds
  • All 4 options indirectly asked in previous year papers
  1. Which one of the following is not a site for in-situ method of conservation of flora? 

(a.) Biosphere Reserve

(b.) Botanical Garden

(c.) National Park

(d.) Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Covered in tut bits
  • Ridiculously Easy
  • You can also easily spot odd option out
  1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Biodiversity is normally greater in the lower latitudes as compared to the higher latitudes.
  1. Along the mountain gradients, biodiversity is normally greater in the lower altitudes as compared to the higher altitudes.

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

  • Simple common sense.
  • Compare equator with poles
  • Compare hill slopes / valleys with mountain  peak
  1. Three of the following criteria have contributed to the recognition of Western Ghats-Sri Lanka and Indo-Burma regions as hotspots of biodiversity:
  1. Species richness
  2. Vegetation density
  3. Endemism
  4. Ethno-botanical importance
  5. Threat perception
  6. Adaptation of flora and fauna to warm and humid conditions

Which three of the above are correct criteria in this context?

(a.) 1, 2 and 6

(b.) 2, 4 and 6

(c.) 1, 3 and 5

(d.) 3, 4 and 6

Simple, covered in tit bits

Areas with high endemic biodiversity at the risk of extinction

  1. Two important rivers — one with its source in Jharkhand (and known by a different name in Odisha), and another, with its source in Odisha — merge at a place only a short distance from the coast of Bay of Bengal before flowing into the sea. This is an important site of wildlife and biodiversity and a protected area.

Which one of the following could be this?

(a.) Bhitarkanika

(b.) Chandipur-on-sea

(c.) Gopalpur-on-sea

(d.) Simlipal

  • Covered in geography
  • Bhutarkanika asked time and time again
  1. A sandy and saline area is the natural habitat of an Indian animal species. The animal has no predators in that area but its existence is threatened due to the destruction of its habitat. Which one of the following could be that animal?

(a.) Indian wild buffalo

(b.) Indian wild ass

(c.) Indian wild boar

(d.) Indian gazelle

  • Simple, asked before
  • Indian wild as, critically endangered
  • Found in rann of kutch
  1. The Himalayan Range is Very rich in species diversity. Which one among the following is the most appropriate reason for this phenomenon?

(a.) It has a high rainfall that supports luxuriant vegetative growth

(b.) It is a confluence of different bio-geographical zones

(c.) Exotic and invasive species have not been introduced in this region

(d.) It has less human interference

Covered in geography

  1. In the Union Budget 2011-12, a full exemption from the basic customs duty was extended to the bio-based asphalt (bioasphalt). What is the importance of this material?
  1. Unlike traditional asphalt, bio-asphalt is not based on fossil fuels.
  2. Bioasphalt can be made from non-renewable resources.
  3. Bioasphalt can be made from organic waste materials.
  4. It is eco-friendly to use bioasphalt for surfacing of the roads.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a.) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b.) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c.) 2 and 4 only

(d.) 1, 2, 3 and 4

  • Bio so you can guess it’s not based on fossil fuels
  • So made from renewable resources not non renewable
  • Organic waste material is bio
  • Renewable is of course eco friendly
  • Eliminate statement 2
  1. Consider the following:
  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Oxides of Nitrogen
  3. Oxides of Sulphur

Which of the above is/are the emission/ emissions from coal combustion at thermal power plants?

(a.) 1 only

(b.) 2 and 3 only

(c.) 1 and 3 only

(d.) 1, 2 and 3

  • Simple,
  • Coal us not pure so oxides of nitrogen and sulfur would also be emitted
  • See, similar question on quality of coal was asked couple of years later
  1. The formation of ozone hole in the Antarctic region has been a cause of concern. What could be the reason for the formation of this hole?

(a.) Presence of prominent tropo-spheric turbulence; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons

(b.) Presence of prominent polar front and stratospheric’ clouds; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons

(c.) Absence of polar front and stratospheric clouds; and inflow of methane and chlorofluorocarbons

(d.) Increased temperature at polar region due to global warming

  • B and c are contradictory, one true
  • You know about polar front and stratospheric clouds from your geography
  1. Regarding “carbon, credits”, which one of the following statements is not correct?

(a.) The carbon credit system was ratified in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol

(b.) Carbon credits are awarded to countries or groups that have reduced greenhouse gases below their emission quota

(c.) The goal of the carbon credit system is to limit the increase of carbon dioxide emission

(d.) Carbon credits are- traded at a price fixed from time to time by the United Nations Environment Programme

  • Price is always market determined that’s why price keeps on fluctuating
  • D is obviously incorrect
  • Other 3 statements are true, basic common sense 2 and 3
  • Statement 1 is common knowledge
  1. There is a concern: over the increase in harmful algal blooms in the seawaters of India. What could be the causative factors for this phenomenon?
  1. Discharge of nutrients from the estuaries.
  2. Run-off from the land during the monsoon.
  3. Upwelling in the seas.

Select the correct answer from the codes given below:

(a.) 1 only

(b.) 1 and 2 only

(c.) 2 and 3 only

(d.) 1, 2 and 3

  • Eutrophication/ algal bloom
  • Basically whatever leads to high nutrient concentration in sea/lake
  • 1 is obvious
  • Run off would lead to nutrient discharge from farms/ fertilisers etc.
  • Upwelling leads to arrival of cold nutrient rich water on surface

12  The “Red Data Books” published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) contain lists of:

  1. Endemic plant and animal species present in the biodiversity hotspots,
  2. Threatened plant and animal species.
  3. Protected sites for conservation of nature and natural resources in various countries.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a.) 1 and 3

(b.) 2 only

(c.) 2 and 3

(d.) 3 only

  • Simple
  • Threaten species world over
  • 1 is incorrect as it’s about Endemism
  • 3rd is about protected sites
  1. Human activities in the recent past have Caused the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but a lot of it does not remain in the lower atmosphere because of :
  1. its escape into the outer stratosphere.
  2. the photosynthesis by phyto-plankton in the oceans.
  3. the trapping of air in the polar ice caps.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a.) 1 and 2

(b.) 2 only

(c.) 2 and 3

(d.) 3 only

  • 2nd is obviously correct. Photosynthesis on oceans will reduce co2 from air
  • 1st statement is BS. air does not escape
  • 3rd, I am not sure, check the official key someone
  1. In the context of ecosystem productivity, marine upwelling zones are important as they increase the marine productivity by bringing the:
  1. decomposer microorganisms to the surface.
  2. nutrients to the surface.
  3. bottom-dwelling organisms to- the surface.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a.) 1 and 2

(b.) 2 only

(c.) 2 and 3

(d.) 3 only

  • Sort of interval repeat
  • Upwelling leads to algal bloom – asked in the question above
  • Nutrient rich water comes on the surface
  • Organisms would remain where they are
  1. With reference to India, consider the following Central Acts:
  1. Import and Export (Control) Act, 1947
  2. Mining and Mineral Development (Regulation) Act, 1957
  3. Customs Act, 1962
  4. Indian Forest Act, 1927

Which of the above Acts have relevance to/bearing on the biodiversity conservation in the country?

(a.) 1 and 3 only

(b.) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c.) 1, 2, 3 and 4

(d.) None of the above Acts

  • 4th is obvious
  • 1st would cover import and export of plants/animals/wood, CITES provision etc.
  • Include 1 and 4

P.S. That completes analysis of last 5 years ecology portion.

P.P.S. = Science and art and culture depending on time. Will try my best. No promises

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