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UPSC > Ecology and Environment

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

Q 1.

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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.

Q 2.

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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.

Q 3.

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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.

Q 4.

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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.

Q 5.

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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.

Q 6.

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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.

Q 7.

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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.

Q 8.

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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.

Q 9.

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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.

Q 10.

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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.

Q 11.

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Consider the following :
1. Bats
2. Bears
3. Rodents
The phenomenon of hibernation can be observed in which of the above kinds of animals?

A

1 and 2 only

B

2 only

1, 2 and 3

D

Hibernation cannot be observed in any of the above

Explanation

Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in endothermsis characterized by low body temperature, slow breathing and heart rate, and low metabolic rate.It is found in Bat ,bear and rodents etc.

Q 12.

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Which of the following adds/add carbon dioxide to the carbon cycle on the planet Earth?
1. Volcanic action
2. Respiration
3. Photosynthesis
4. Decay of organic matter
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A

1 and 3 only

B

2 only

1, 2 and 4 only

D

1, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation

Volcanic action, Respiration and decay of organic matter adds/add carbon dioxide to the carbon cycle on the planet Earth. However, photosynthesis uses Carbon dioxide to produce food.

Q 13.

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Which of the following National Parks is unique in being a swamp with floating vegetation that supports a rich biodiversity?

A

Bhitarkanika National Park

Keibul Lamjao National Park

C

Keoladeo Ghana National Park

D

Sultanpur National Park

Explanation

The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a national park located in Manipur. It is 40 km in area and the only floating park in the world which is located in North East India, and an integral part of Loktak Lake.

Q 14.

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With reference to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. IUCN is an organ of the United Nations and CITES is an international agreement between governments.
2. IUCN runs thousands of field projects around the world to better manage natural environments.
3. CITES is legally binding on the States that have joined it, but this Convention does not take the place of national laws.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A

1 only

2 and 3 only

C

1 and 3 only

D

1, 2 and 3

Explanation

IUCN is not an organ of UN. It has observer and consultative status at the United Nations.

Q 15.

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With reference to 'dugong', a mammal found in India, which of the following statements is/an; correct?
1. It is a herbivorous marine animal.
2. It is found along the entire coast of India.
3. It is given legal protection under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A

1 and 2

B

2 only

1 and 3

D

3 only

Explanation

The dugong is a medium-sized marine mammal. Dugong is listed under schedule 1 of India Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. In 2008, a MoU was signed between the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Government of India, in order to conserve dugongs. In fact the highest level of legal protection is accorded to dugongs in India.

Q 16.

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Which one of the following is the national aquatic animal of India?

A

Saltwater crocodile

B

Olive ridley turtle

Gangetic dolphin

D

Gharial

Explanation

The Gangetic dolphins have been declared as the National Aquatic Animal of India .River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India. The Ministry of Environment and Forests notified the Ganges River Dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal on 18th May 2010. This mammal is also said to represent the purity of the holy Ganga as it can only survive in pure and fresh water.

Q 17.

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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

Montreal Protocol

C

Kyoto Protocol

D

Nagoya Protocol

Explanation

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.

Q 18.

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What is Rio+20 Conference, often mentioned in the news?

It is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

B

It is a Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization

C

It is a Conference of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change

D

It is a Conference of the Member Countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Explanation

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio Summit or Earth Summit. It was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. In 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development was also held in Rio, and is also commonly called Rio+20 or Rio Earth Summit 2012.

Q 19.

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Which of the following statements regarding 'Green Climate Fund' is/are correct?
1. It is intended to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.
2. It is founded under the aegis of UNEP, OECD, Asian Development Bank and World Bank.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

1 only

B

2 only

C

Both 1 and 2

D

Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC founded as a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world, in order to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change. The Fund is governed by the GCF Board. The assets of the GCF will be administered by a trustee only for the purpose of, and in accordance with, the relevant decisions of the GCF Board. The World Bank was invited by the COP to serve as the interim trustee of the GCF, subject to a review three years after operation of the Fund.

Q 20.

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Ecotones:

A

contain only species found in the bordering ecosystems.

B

have the same abiotic characteristics as the bordering ecosystems.

C

consist of two or more landscapes.

are transitional regions between ecosystems.

Q 21.

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In an ecosystem with many similar species, we typically find:

A

intense interspecific competition for food.

competitors using different resources.

C

intense interspecific competition for nesting sites.

D

adaptations for battles and interspecific competition.

Q 22.

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Some birds have been seen to consume certain soils in what is called geophagy
. In some cases, the soils help the birds digest toxins that occur in their diets
. These birds eating soil represent a member of the:

biosphere consuming a component of the lithosphere.

B

hydrosphere consuming a component of the atmosphere.

C

lithosphere consuming a component of the biosphere.

D

atmosphere consuming a component of the hydrosphere.

Q 23.

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In a food chain of a grassland ecosystem the top consumers are:

A

Herbivores

Carnivores

C

Bacteria

D

Either Carnivores or Herbivores

Explanation

in a food chain the top consumers are carnivores while the organism which occupy the lowest level are the producers which produces their own food and are further utilized by other species known as consumers.

Q 24.

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Biotic Potential is counteracted by:

A

Competition with other organism

B

Producer is the largest

C

Limitation of food supply

None of the above.

Explanation

Biotic potential is the ability of a population of living species to increase under ideal environmental conditions - sufficient food supply, no predators, and a lack of disease. An organism’s rate of reproduction and the size of each litter are the primary determining factors for biotic potential.

Q 25.

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Which of the following represents a type of mutualism?

A

A red-tailed hawk pounces on a field mouse for dinner.

B

A large herd of zebra graze lazily across the broad savannah

C

A mosquito draws a blood meal from the back of an elk.

A nectar-feeding bat swoops in to drink nectar from some flowers.