This is a very short post on how to approach environment and ecology section
Environment and ecology + biological sciences form very important part of prelims paper. On average 22 questions are asked from this section (some overlap with geography)
Year wise number of Questions
- 2015 – 14
- 2014 – 31
- 2013 – 22
- 2012 – 23
- 2011 – 21
But the most important thing you should know about this portion is that questions are of three kinds.
1. Ridiculous difficult – about 25% – 30% of the questions are ridiculously difficult. You don’t have to chase such questions. Chasing them is a futile exercise.
For instance, consider this question
Consider the following pairs
- Dampa Tiger Reserve : Mizoram
- Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary : Sikkim
- Saramati Peak : Nagaland
Which of the above pairs is /are correctly matched?
- 1 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
- Now it’s impossible to remember location of all the 500 sanctuaries plus 100 national parks.
- Don’t go after such questions. Just keep looking for ones in the news, you may just get lucky
2. Ridiculously easy -20% of the questions are ridiculously easy. You can answer them if you have just even gone through all the portions very superficially. Not being able to answer them is simply a criminal action/ inaction.
Which one of the following is associated with the issue of control and phasing out of the use of ozone-depleting substances?
(a) Bretton Woods Conference
(b) Montreal Protocol
(c) Kyoto Protocol
(d) Nagoya Protocol
Not being able to answer this is criminal
3. Conceptual -Rest 50% can be solved with 80% accuracy with decent knowledge and some logic and tikdams <we will try to solve them>
At the cost of sounding repetitive, like every other subject, solving past 15 year question papers help. Topics are repeated. You get the feel of actual paper.
Essential reading –
- NCERT botany last 4 chapters
- NIOS environment and ecology pdf
- prelims titbits – environment and ecology (titbits are of course very selective)
- civilsdaily environment newscards
- Civilsdaily environment articles <will create a collection shortly>
Most imp. Topics
- Fundamentals of ecology – species, population, community, ecosystem, biome, niche, food chain, food web, energy flow, nutrient flow <N, C, P cycle>, pyramids with examples, succession, (just definition)
- Protected areas – national park (location difficult to remember but keep looking at the map, look around to see the rivers and hills), sanctuary, biosphere reserve (location imp), wetland, Tiger reserve, community reserve
- Biodiversity loss, hotspots
- Types of species – keystone species, critical link
- Species interaction
- Environmental treaties, international organisations, funding mechanism
- Climate change, global warming, ozone depletion
- Pollution – acid rain, smog, photochemical smog
- Environmental laws of India (understand them with logic)
- Agriculture and soil conservation related
In these last 10 days –
- Solve last 15 year question papers
- Revise your environment notes
- Read newscards related to environment
- Read titbits related to environment
- Open your orient blackswan atlas and just go through the location of protected sites, rivers slowing through them, hills etc
P.S. – We would try to very quickly go through 2011 – 2015 environment and ecology papers and also have a glance at science and tech, art and culture before prelims. <No promises but would try my best>