Biodiversity and Conservation


  • Concentrate on types of biodiversity
  • Methods to protect biodiversity in India
  • Causes of biodiversity loss- Climate change, invasive species, habitat change etc
  • Marine, Animal and Plant Biodiversity
  • Protection Networks- Wildlife Sanctuary, National Park and Bio-reserves
  • Biodiversity Hot Spots-India and World, criticism against hotspots
  • Bioprospecting and Biopiracy issues
  • International Conservation initiatives and India- Cartanega and Nagoya Protocol
  • Laws and Policies- India and World, Convention on Biodiversity, Aichi Targets,
  • Biodiversity Act, 2002.
  • Read Environment chapter of India Year Book


Few Examples from Previous Year Question Paper’s

The Himalayan Range is Very rich in species diversity. Which one among the following is the most appropriate reason for this phenomenon?(2011)

(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

Solution (b)


Consider the following pairs (2013)1. Nokrek Bio-sphere Reserve :   Garo Hills

2. Logtak (Loktak)Lake :              Barail Range

3. NamdaphaNationalPark :       Dafla Hills

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None

Solution (a) 


Note: A factual question. Though it requires basic concepts but can you remember endless things from books? While going through newspapers try to find out any such news that fall under this domain and remember the locations or any relevant information as such.


We will explain with an example. Taken from The Hindu

Recently there were articles related to ‘Arctic Council’. You would have read about the issue. The most important and debated issue is of ‘Global Commons’. Unlike Antarctica, Arctic is not considered as Global Commons. Mainly the articles were inclined towards India getting an Observer Status. But Prelims related stuffs can be prepared because it falls under environment.


According to international laws, what constitutes “Global Commons”1.      Outer Space

2.      High Seas

3.      Atmosphere

4.      Antarctica

5.      Arctic

6.      Cyber Space

Choose the correct codes

(a) 1,2, 3 and 6

(b) 1, 2, 3 and 4

(c ) 1, 3, 4 and 5

(d) 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 

Solution: B


Government of India encourages the cultivation of ‘sea buckthorn’. What is the importance of this plant? (2012)

1. It helps in controlling soil erosion and in preventing desertification.

2. It is a rich source of biodiesel.

3. It has nutritional value and is well-adapted to live in cold areas of high altitudes.

4. Its timber is of great commercial value.

Which of the statements given above is /are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Solution (c )

The source of this question is ‘Nothing but newspaper’. That year (in 2012) ‘sea buckthorn’ was in news because of National Mission on Sea buckthorn and specific plant to a region (Leh-Ladhak) having immense medicinal properties.Let us consider this question from UPSC


Now let us consider a similar question from recent current affairs


Rhodiola has been a significant herb of research interests among the scientist all over the world. Consider the statements w.r.t Rhodiola1. It is approved by FDA to cure, treat or prevent  disease

2. It has proved significance as anti-depressant

3. It has immunomodulatory, adaptogenic and radio-protecting abilities.

4. The leafy part can be used as vegetables

5. It is found in cold regions only

Which of the following statements is /are correct 

(a) 1, 2,3 and 5

(b) 1, 3 and 4

(c ) 2,3,4 and 5

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer:  C


International and Indian laws/Bodies and Policies


  • Concentrate on recent meetings and United Nations initiatives.
  • Indian policies in news like Environment Protection Act and Bodies/Committees under it like GEAC or Pollution Control Act-any changes or modifications therein. Additionally focus on recent issues related to any environmental bodies. 
  • Terms like Kyoto mechanism, Emission Trading etc.
  • Carbon Trading and Leakage issues
  • Wetland conservation initiative- UPSC is asking too many questions from wetland from past two years.
  • Ramsar Convention, Montreux Record
  • The three Rio Conventions—Convention on Biological Diversity(CoB), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – from the 1992 Earth Summit) etc. Note that these are for Sustainable Development
  • Organisations like UNEP, World Bank, FAO, UNESCO etc. and their environmental initiatives & reports. For example BioCarbon Fund Initiative of World Bank, IUCN by UNESCO, Global Environmental Facilities, Green Bonds & Green Climate Funds etc.

Example (2014 Prelims Questions Paper) 

With reference to ‘Global Environment Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct? 20141. It serves as financial mechanism for ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ and ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’.

2. It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level

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

4.  Both (a) and (b)

Answer: 1


Note: On the same line, here is a question from recent current affairs. Have a closer look.

With reference to’ Green Climate Fund’, which of the following statements is/are correct?(a) It will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities wrt climate change in all developing countries.

(b) Severely  affected countries are eligible to receive resources from GCF

(c)  GCF board comprises of members from all the countries party to UNFCCC

(A) a and b

(B) b and c

(C) a,b and c

(D) None

Answer: None  

Note: Compare the above questions, you will understand it’s essence and how the questions are framed. Still, if you have not understood, then let’s proceed further…

Check these questions from UPSC. All are more or less on similar lines. You just need to understand the theme on which they have been prepared and then base your preparation accordingly.

Consider the following kinds of organisms :(2012)1. Bat2. Bee

3. Bird

Which of the above is/are pollinating agent/agents?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (d)


Consider the following: (2014)1.      Bats2.      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

C.      1, 2 and 3

D.     Hibernation cannot be observed in any of the above

Answer: C



Note: Now check this question from recent current affairs and articles


Which among the following are ‘Nocturnal’ in nature?1.       Bat

2.       Catfish

3.       Kiwi

4.       Koala

a)   1,2 and 3

(b)   1,3 and 4

(c)    1,2,3and 4

(d)   Only 1 

Answer: C


Note: Have you prepared such questions from NCERT’s or any coaching material? If yes, well and good and if not, a big reason to introspect.


Let us see how UPSC frames questions on Policies and acts from this section



 1.  Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environment(Protection) Act, 19862. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body.3. National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Which of the statements given above is/ are correct?

a.     1 only

b.    2 and 3 only

c.    2 only

d.    1, 2 and 3

Solution: b



Note: There are numerous laws and policies. How to prepare all of them? You cannot do it for sure. But yes, you can prepare smartly from daily exercise. How?

Let us check from recent current affairs

Note: You will find several environmental acts in newspapers. Try to prepare like this.


Consider the statements with reference to ‘Central Pollution Control Board’1. It is a statutory organization

2. Constituted under Air(Prevention and control of Pollution)Act ,19743.

3. It is responsible for implementation of legislation relating to prevention and control of environmental pollution.

Correct statement is/are

(a)   Only 1

(b)   1 and 2

(c)    1 and 3

(d)   1,2 and 3

Answer: 1 and 3



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