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UPSC

Explore popular questions from Ecology and Environment for UPSC. This collection covers Ecology and Environment previous year UPSC questions hand picked by experienced teachers.

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Ecology and Environment

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Q 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

Indian wild ass

C

Indian wild boar

D

Indian gazelle

Explanation

The Indian wild ass are also called as ghudkhuer in local Gujrati language, is a subspecies of the onager native of South Asia. It is unknown how they disappeared though they have never been hunting target during any emperors in India. The history speaks that their number has been declining after due to diseases such as surra and horse sickness. The process related to salt activities have also been a reason behind it.

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Q 2. 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

1, 2, 3 and 4 only

Explanation

Biological diversity helps in the formation and maintenance of soil structure and the retention of moisture and nutrient levels. Biodiversity supports ecosystem services including air quality, climate water purification, pollination, and prevention of erosion.

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Q 3. 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

2 only

C

2 and 3

D

3 only

Explanation

The red data book is contain only 8 lists of threatened plant and animal species.

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Q 4. How does National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) help in protecting the Indian agriculture?
1. NBA checks the biopiracy and protects the indigenous and traditional genetic resources.
2. NBA directly monitors and supervises the scientific research on genetic modification of crop plants.
3. Application for Intellectual Property Rights related to genetic/biological resources cannot be made without the approval of NBA.
Which of the statements given above is /are correct?

A

1 only

B

2 and 3 only

C

1 and 3 only

1, 2 and 3

Explanation

National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) checks the biopiracy and protects the indigeneous and traditional genetic resources. It directly monitors and supervises the scientific research on genetic modification of crop plants application for intellectual property Rights related to genetic biological resources cannot be made without the approval of NBA.

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Q 5. The acidification of oceans is increasing. Why is this phenomenon a cause of concern?
1. The growth and survival of calcareous phytoplankton will be adversely affected.
2. The growth and survival of coral reefs will be adversely affected.
3. The survival of some animals that have phytoplanktonic larvae will be adversely affected.
4. The cloud seeding and formation of clouds will be adversely affected.
Which of the statements given above is /are correct?

A

1, 2 and 3 only

B

2 only

C

1 and 3 only

1, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation

1, 2, 3 and 4 are correct. Marine organism like coral and phytoplankton are affected by ocean acidification. It decrease growth, reproduction and survival of these species the acidification of ocean may lead to cloud formation. Sulfuric acid seeds the cloud formation which is emitted from ocean in the form of dimethylsulfide (DMS) produce by phytoplankton. These phytoplankton produces less DMS when ocean water is acidified and result less cloud formation.

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Q 6. Consider the following protected areas:
1. Bandipur
2. Bhitarkanika
3. Manas
4. Sunderbans
Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

A

1 and 2 only

1, 3 and 4 only

C

2, 3 and 4 only

D

l, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation

Bandipur, Manas and Sunderbans are declared Tiger Reserves

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Q 7. In which one among the following categories of protected areas in India are local people not allowed to collect and use the biomass?

A

Biosphere Reserves

National Parks

C

Wetlands declared under Ramsar Convention

D

Wildlife Sanctuaries

Explanation

In national parks, local people are not allowed to collect and use the biomass available in the areas.

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Q 8. What is the difference between the antelopes Oryx and Chiru?

Oryx is adapted to live in hot and arid areas whereas Chiru is adapted to live in steppes and semi-desert areas of cold high mountains

B

Oryx is poached for its antlers whereas Chiru is poached for its musk

C

Oryx exists in western India only whereas Chiru exists in north-east India only

D

None of the statements (a), (b) and (c) given above is correct

Explanation

Oryx has adapted to live in hot and arid areas whereas Chiru is adapted to live in steppes and semidesert areas of cold high mountains.

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Q 9. Which of the following can be threats to the biodiversity of a geographical area?
1. Global warming
2. Fragmentation of habitat
3. Invasion of alien species
4. Promotion of vegetarianism
Select the correct answer using the codes given below :

1, 2 and 3 only

B

2 and 3 only

C

1 and 4 only

D

1, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation

Except promotion of vegetarianism all other acts are threats to the biodiversity of a geographical area.

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Q 10. Vultures which used to be very common in Indian countryside some years ago are rarely seen nowadays. This is attributed to

A

the destruction of their nesting sites by new invasive species

a drug used by cattle owners for treating their diseased cattle

C

scarcity of food available to them

D

a widespread, persistent and fatal disease among them

Explanation

A drug used by cattle owners for treating their diseased cattle.

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Q 11. With reference to food chains in ecosystems, consider the following statements:
1. A food chain illustrates the order in which a chain of organisms feed upon each other.
2. Food chains are found within the populations of a species.
3. A food chain illustrates the numbers of each organism which are eaten by others.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

1 only

B

1 and 2 only

C

1, 2 and 3

D

None

Explanation

A food chain illustrates the order in which a chain of organisms feed upon each other. A food chain is the sequence of who eats whom in a biological community to obtain nutrition.
Sample:- Grassland Biome
GRASS > GRASS HOPPER > RAT> SNAKE > HAWK

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Q 12. In which of the following States is lion-tailed macaque found in its natural habitat?
1. Tamil Nadu
2. Kerala
3. Karnataka
4. Andhra Pradesh
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

1, 2 and 3 only

B

2 only

C

1, 3 and 4 only

D

1, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation

Lion-tailed Macaques are found in the mountain forests scattered across three Indian states stated above. The lion-tailed Macaques are endangered as per IUCN.

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Q 13. Which one of the following terms describes not only the physical space occupied by an organism, but also its functional role in the community of organisms?

A

Ecotone

Ecological niche

C

Habitat

D

Home range

Explanation

Ecological Niche is a term that describes the way of life of a species. Each species is thought to have a separate unique niche. The ecological niche describes how an organism or population responds to the distribution of resources and competitors. A niche is the sum of the habitat requirements that allow a species to persist and produce offspring.

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Q 14. In the grasslands, trees do not replace the grasses as a part of an ecological succession because of

A

insects and fungi

B

limited sunlight and paucity of nutrients

water limits and fire

D

None of the above

Explanation

The trees cannot replace the grasses as a part of an ecological succession because of water limits and fire.

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Q 15. Which one of the following is the correct sequence of ecosystems in the order of decreasing productivity?

A

Oceans, lakes, grasslands, mangroves

B

Mangroves, oceans, grasslands, lakes

C

Mangroves, grasslands, lakes, oceans

Oceans, mangroves, lakes, grasslands

Explanation

The plant life in an ecosystem support the animal life and vice versa. So the sequence of ecosystems in the order of decreasing productivity is Ocean>mangroves> lakes>grasslands. Ocean or marine ecosystems usually have a large biodiversity. Mangrove is a part of that ecosystem. So are lakes. Grasslands are areas where vegetation is dominated by grasses hence biodiversity is in the decline.

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Q 16. With reference to the food chains in ecosystems, which of the following kinds of organism is/are known as decomposer organism/organisms?
1. Virus
2. Fungi
3. Bacteria
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

A

1 only

2 and 3 only

C

1 and 3 only

D

1, 2 and 3

Explanation

Bacteria and Fungi both are known as decomposer organisms. Bacteria are important decomposers; they can break down any kind of organic matters. Fungi are primary decomposers, they not only decompose the surface organisms but they can also penetrate deep into the organic matters.

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Q 17. Consider the following statements regarding 'Earth Hour' :
1. It is an initiative of UNEP and UNESCO.
2. It is a movement in which the participants switch off the lights for one hour on a certain day every year.
3. It is a movement to raise the awareness about the climate change and the need to save the planet.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A

1 and 3 only

B

2 only

2 and 3 only

D

1, 2 and 3

Explanation

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement for the planet organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event is held worldwide annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. to raise the awareness about the climate change and the need to save the planet.

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Q 18. Which one of the following is the correct sequence of a food chain?

Diatoms-Crustaceans-Herrings

B

Crustaceans-Diatoms-Herrings

C

Diatoms-Herrings-Crustaceans

D

Crustaceans-Herrings-Diatoms

Explanation

Diatoms are autotrophs which prepare their own food. Crustaceans are herbivorous animals which feed on diatoms. Herrings are carnivorous animals which feed on Crustaceans. This completes the food chain. Diatoms are autotrophs, prepare their own food. Crustaceans eats diatoms. Crustaceons members of zooplants and are eaten by Herring fish when small.

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Q 19. If a wetland of international importance is brought under the 'Montreux Record', what does it imply?

Changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur in the wetland as a result of human interference

B

The country in which the wetland is located should enact a law to prohibit any human activity within five kilometres from the edge of the wetland

C

The survival of the wetland depends on the cultural practices and traditions of certain communities living in its vicinity and therefore the cultural diversity therein should not be destroyed

D

It is given the status of 'World Heritage Site'

Explanation

The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.

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Q 20. With reference to 'Global Environment Facility'', which of the following statements is/are correct?

It serves as financial mechanism for 'Convention on Biological Diversity' and 'United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change'

B

It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level

C

It is an agency under OECD to facilitate the transfer of technology and funds to underdeveloped countries with specific aim to protect their environment

D

Both (a) and (b)

E

Both A and B

Explanation

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues. It serves as financial mechanism for 'Convention on Biological Diversity' and 'United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change' It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level. It is not an agency under OECD.

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Q 21. With reference to technologies for solar power production, consider the following statements :
1. 'Photovoltaics' is a technology that generates electricity by direct conversion of light into electricity, while 'Solar Thermal' is a technology that utilizes the Sun's rays to generate heat which is further used in electricity generation process.
2. Photovoltaics generates Alternating Current (AC), while Solar Thermal generates Direct Current (DC).
3. India has manufacturing base for Solar Thermal technology, but not for Photovoltaics.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

1 only

B

2 and 3 only

C

1, 2 and 3

D

None

Explanation

Photovoltaics' is a technology that generates electricity by direct conversion of light into electricity, while 'Solar Thermal' is a technology that utilizes the Sun's rays to generate heat which is further used in electricity generation process. Both Photovoltaic cells and solar thermal generate direct current (DC). India has a manufacturing base for both.

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Q 22. Consider the following pairs :
1. Dampa Tiger Reserve : Mizoram
2. Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary :Sikkim
3. Saramati Peak : Nagaland
Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

A

1 only

B

2 and 3 only

1 and 3 only

D

1, 2 and 3

Explanation

Dampa Tiger Reserve, the largest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram. Saramati peak is in Nagaland. It is located near Tuensang town with a height of 3,826 m. Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary is famous wildlife reserve in Tripura.

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Q 23. With reference to a conservation organization called "Wetlands International', which of the following statements is/ are correct?
1. It is an intergovernmental organization formed by the countries which are signatories to Ramsar Convention.
2. It works at the field level to develop and mobilize knowledge, and use the practical experience to advocate for better policies.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A

1 only

2 only

C

Both 1 and 2

D

Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation

This organization is in partnership but not formed by Ramsar convention. The organization was formed in 1954 and Ramsar convention was signed in 1971. "Wetlands International", It is an intergovernmental organization formed by the countries which are signatories to Ramsar Convention.It works at the field level to develop and mobilize knowledge, and use the practical experience to advocate for better policies.

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Q 24. Other than poaching, what are the possible reasons for the decline in the population of Ganges River Dolphin?
1. Construction of dams and barrages on rivers
2. Increase in the population of crocodiles in rivers
3. Getting trapped in fishing nets accidentally
4. Use of synthetic fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals in crop-fields in the vicinity of rivers
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A

1 and 2 only

B

2 and 3 only

1, 3 and 4 only

D

1, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation

Statement 1, 3 and 4 are correct as per wwf and environment ministry.

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Q 25. Brominated flame retardants are used in many household products like mattresses and upholstery. Why is there some concern about their use?
1. They are highly resistant to degradation in the environment.
2. They are able to accumulate in humans and animals.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A

1 only

B

2 only

Both 1 and 2

D

Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation

Brominated flame retardants used in many household products are highly resistant to degradation in the environment and they are able to accumulate in humans and animals.