Q. Which one of the following is the best description of the term ‘ecosystem’?

(a) A community of organisms interacting with one another

(b) That part of the Earth which is inhabited by living organisms

(c) A community of organisms together with the environment in which they live

(d) The flora and fauna of a geographical area

Answer: (c) A community of organisms together with the environment in which they live

  • It is an interaction of all living and nonliving organisms with the surrounding environment.
  • The different types of the ecosystem include:
    • Terrestrial ecosystem
    • Forest ecosystem
    • Grassland ecosystem
    • Desert ecosystem
    • Tundra ecosystem
    • Freshwater ecosystem
    • Marine ecosystem

Q. With reference to an organization known as ‘BirdLife International’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a Global Partnership of Conservation Organizations.
  2. The concept of ‘biodiversity hotspots’ originated from this organization.
  3. It identifies the sites known/ referred to as ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

BirdLife International
  • BirdLife International is a global partnership of conservation organizations (NGOs) that strives to conserve birds, their habitats, and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
  • BirdLife International was founded in 1922 as the International Council for Bird Protection by American ornithologists T. Gilbert Pearson and Jean Theodore Delacour.
    • The group was renamed International Committee for Bird Preservation in 1928, International Council for Bird Preservation in 1960, and BirdLife International in 1993.
  • It has a membership of more than 2.5 million people across 116 country partner organizations, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the National Audubon Society and American Bird Conservancy.
  • It  publishes a quarterly magazineWorld Birdwatch, which contains recent news and authoritative articles about birds, their habitats, and their conservation around the world.
  • It is the official Red List authority for birds, for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • It also published important bird areas (IBA) inventory.
Biodiversity Hotspots
  • Biodiversity hotspots are defined as regions “where exceptional concentrations of endemic species are undergoing an exceptional loss of habitat”.
  • Biodiversity hotspots are regions with high species richness and a high degree of endemism.
  • The concept of biodiversity hotspots was developed by the Norman Myers in 1988 when he identified that the tropical forest losing its plants species as well as habitat.
    • IUCN prepares ‘Red Data Book’. There are 36 areas around the world that are qualified as Biodiversity hotspots. These hotspots represent only 2.3% of the total Earth’s land surface,  yet more than 50% of the world’s plant species and 42% of all terrestrial vertebrate species are endemic to these areas.
  • According to Conservation International, a region must fulfill the following two criteria to qualify as a hotspot:
    • It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics which are to say, it must have a high percentage of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable.
    • It must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation (It has to have lost at least 70% of its original habitat). In other words, it must be threatened.

Q. With reference to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA), which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a Public Limited Government Company.
  2. It is a Non-Banking Financial Company.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited
  • It is a Public Limited Government Company established in 1987.
  • It is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India Enterprise
  • It is under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  • IREDA has been notified as a “Public Financial Institution” under section 4 ‘A’ of the Companies Act, 1956 and registered as Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) with Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • IREDA’s mission is “Be a pioneering, participant friendly and competitive institution for financing and promoting self-sustaining investment in energy generation from Renewable Sources, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Technologies for sustainable development.”
  • Motto: “ENERGY FOR EVER”.

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

(a) Bhitarkanika National Park

(b) Keibul Lamjao National Park

(c) Keoladeo Ghana National Park

(d) Sultanpur National Park

Answer: (b) Keibul Lamjao National Park

Keibul Lamjao National Park
  • Loktak lake hosts the world’s only floating national park, the Keibul Lamjao National Park.
  • It is a natural habitat for the browantlered deer or the Sangai – which is the state animal of Manipur. The national park is characterized by many floating decomposed plant materials locally called ‘phumdis’ (a Manipuri word meaning floating mats of soil and vegetation).
  • Loktak Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the north-eastern region of India and has been designated as a wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990.
Loktak Lake
  • Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in India.
  • The lake is located at Moirang in Manipur state.
    • Known for its floating circular swamps, which are called phumdis in the local tongue, 
    • The lake invites tourists from far and wide for its ethereal beauty. 
    • These swamps look almost like islands and are a mass of soil, organic matter, and vegetation. 
    • The lake houses the only floating national park in the world, the Keibul Lamjao National Parkwhich is the last refuge of the endangered brow-antlered deer or sangai, Manipur’s state animal.
    •  In addition, the lake shelters about 230 species of aquatic plants, 100 types of birds, and 400 species of fauna like barking deer, sambar, and Indian python.
  • Loktak lake was initially designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990.
    • Later it was also listed under the Montreux Record in 1993.
Keibul Lamjao National Park

Q. 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
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (b) 2 and 3 only

  • IUCN is a membership union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
  • Its members include States, non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples’ organisations, experts, government agencies, etc.
  • Created in 1948, it is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
  • It is headquartered in Switzerland.
  • When it was first set up in Fontainebleau (France), it was the first international environmental union. Its objective was to promote international cooperation and provide scientific knowledge and tools to aid conservation action.
  • It established the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 1964.
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
    • It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of species. These criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world.
    • The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).
      • Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.
    • It is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
    • It is also a key indicator for the SDGs and Aichi Targets.
  • In 1980, partnering with the UNEP and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the IUCN published the World Conservation Strategy, a document which helped define the concept of ‘sustainable development’ and shaped the global conservation and sustainable development agenda.
  • In 1992, in light of the growing environmental concerns, the United Nations granted official observer status to the IUCN.
  • Currently, the IUCN is the biggest and most diverse environmental network.
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily.
  • CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
    • The IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
    • It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.
  • CITES entered into force in July 1975. Currently there are 184 Parties (include countries or regional economic integration organizations).
  • Aim: Ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme) and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.
    • It plays a coordinating, advisory and servicing role in the working of the Convention (CITES).
  • The Conference of the Parties to CITES, is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its Parties.
  • Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws.
    • Rather, it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
  • World Wildlife Day has been celebrated every year on the 3rd of March since 2013.
    • The date chosen coincides with the day of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which was signed in 1973.
    • The UNGA (General Assembly) resolution also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife on the UN (United Nations) calendar.

Q. With reference to ‘dugong’, a mammal found in India, which of the following statements is/are 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
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 3 only

Answer: (c) 1 and 3

Dugong (Sea Cow)
  • Dugong (Dugong dugon) also called ‘Sea Cow’ is one of the four surviving species in the Order Sirenia and it is the only existing species of herbivorous mammal that lives exclusively in the sea including in India.
  • Dugongs are an important part of the marine ecosystem and their depletion will have effects all the way up the food chain.
  • Distribution and Habitat: They are found in over 30 countries and in India are seen in the Gulf of Mannar, Gulf of Kutch, Palk Bay, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable
    • Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • CITES: Appendix I
  • Threats:
    • Dugongs graze on seagrass and the loss of seagrass beds due to ocean floor trawling is one of the most important factors behind decreasing dugong populations in many parts of the world.
      • Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats.
      • It is harmful to the environment because it damages the seafloor, coral reefs and other marine animals.
    • Human activities such as the destruction and modification of habitat, pollution, rampant illegal fishing activities, vessel strikes, unsustainable hunting or poaching and unplanned tourism are the main threats to dugongs.
      • Dugong meat is consumed under the wrong impression that it cools down human body temperature.

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

(a) Saltwater crocodile

(b) Olive ridley turtle

(c) Gangetic dolphin

(d) Gharial

Answer: (c) Gangetic dolphin

Gangetic dolphin (Susu)
  • The Ganges River Dolphin or also called ‘Susu,’ is the National Aquatic Animal of India. It is one of the National Symbols of India.
    • Ganges River Dolphin is found only in freshwater.
    • As the name goes, the Ganges Dolphin are endemic to the river Ganga.
    • They are at the apex of the aquatic food chain.
    • It is the official animal of the Assam’s capital Guwahati.
    • They use the way of ‘Echolocation’ to trap their prey.
    • Ganges River Dolphin along with Indus River Dolphin is the sub-species of South Asian River Dolphin.
  • Gangetic Dolphins are found in the river systems of Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna, and Karnaphuli-Sangu in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
  • The Ganges River Dolphins (Platanista Gangetica) was officially discovered in 1801. The original stretches where the National Aquatic Animal of India are found:
    • Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River Systems and
    • Karnaphuli-Sangu River Systems;
  • The reason to declare Ganges River Dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal of India was to save it from extinction. Also, the Ganges Dolphin is seen as the reflector of the health of the Ganga River. The declaration was made in 2009 in the National Ganga River Basin Authority’s (NGRBA) first meeting.
Gangetic dolphin

Q. 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

Answer: (b) Montreal Protocol

Montreal Protocol
  • Montreal Protocol is an essential Multilateral agreement that is introduced concerning the Depleting ozone layer. There are many man-made substances and chemicals that are known as ozone-depleting substances (ODS).
  • The Montreal Protocol agreement regulates the production, consumption, and emission of such substances that are responsible for ozone depletion in the stratosphere.
  • The Montreal Protocol’s control of ODSs stimulated the development of replacement substances, firstly hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and then HFCs, in a number of industrial sectors. While HFCs have only a minor effect on stratospheric ozone, some HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs).
  • ODSs include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), bromine containing halons and methyl bromideHCFCscarbon tetrachloride (CCl4), and methyl chloroform.
  • These ODSs are long-lived (e.g., CFC-12 has a lifetime greater than 100 years) and are also powerful GHGs.
  • The adoption of the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will phase down the production and consumption of some HFCs and avoid much of the projected global increase and associated climate change.

Q. 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.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (a) 1 only

Green Climate Fund
  • The Green Climate Fund was established in 2010 as a part of the UNFCCC’s financial framework to channel funds from richer nations to developing countries in order to help them reduce climate change and adapt to its effects.
  • It was formed to help disadvantaged societies adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change by limiting or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • At the end of 2011, the UN Framework Convention UNFCCC accepted the Green Climate Fund as a financial mechanism in CoP 16.
  • The GCF sponsors programmes that enable and promote adaptation, remediation (including REDD+), technological development and shift (including CSS), capacity development, and national data analysis.
  • Objectives
    • It would help in the achievement of the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    • GCF will be guided by the principles of provision of the convection.
    • It would help in channeling new, adequate, additional, and predictable financial resources to developing countries.
    • It would promote and strengthen the engagement at the country level
    • The fund will also promote the social, environmental, economic, and development co-benefits.
Global Climate Financing: Scenario
  • Green Climate Fund (GCF): It was established to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developing countries and to help vulnerable societies adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
  • Adaptation Fund (AF): It was established under the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 and has committed US$ 532 million to climate adaptation and resilience activities.
  • Global Environment Fund (GEF): It has served as an operating entity of the financial mechanism since the Convention came into force in 1994.
    • It is a private equity fund focused on seeking long term financial returns by investments in clean energy under climate change.
  • Other Funds: In addition to providing guidance to the GEF and the GCF, parties have established two special funds:
    • The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF).
      • Both funds are managed by the GEF.
    • At the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015, the Parties agreed that the operating entities of the financial mechanisms – GCD, GEF, SCCF and the LDCF, shall serve the Paris Agreement.
Climate Financing and India: Scenario
  • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are nationally binding targets adopted under UNFCCC. India has to reduce GHG emissions under this, which requires climate financing.
  • National Clean Energy Fund:
    • The Fund was created to promote clean energy, funded through an initial carbon tax on use of coal by industries.
    • Governed by an Inter-Ministerial Group with the Finance Secretary as the Chairman.
    • Its mandate is to fund research and development of innovative clean energy technology in the fossil and non fossil fuel based sectors.
  • National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC):
    • It was established in 2015 to meet the cost of adaptation to climate change for the State and Union Territories of India that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM):
    • It allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2.
    • The CDM is the main source of income for the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund.
    • The Adaptation Fund is financed by a 2% levy on CERs issued by the CDM.
  • Internal Programmes:
    • Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), Disaster Management Fund etc.
    • A Climate Change Finance Unit was set up by Department of Economics in the Ministry of Finance to advise and guide the MoEF&CC as well as to lead on global climate finance issues.

Q. ‘BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes’ is managed by the

(a) Asian Development Bank

(b) International Monetary Fund

(c) United Nations Environment Programme

(d) World Bank

Answer: (d) World Bank

  • The BioCarbon Fund ISFL is a multilateral facility, supported by donor governments and managed by the World Bank.
  • It seeks to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), and from sustainable agriculture, as well as smarter land-use planning, policies and practices.

World Bank

  • The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects.
  • It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association.
  • It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.

Asian Development Bank

  • The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966.
  • It is headquartered in MandaluyongManila, Philippines.
  • It aims to promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.

International Monetary Fund

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 189 member countries.
  • It was created in 1945.
  • The IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system.
  • It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.

United Nations Environment Programme

  • The United Nations Environment Programme is responsible for coordinating the UN’s environmental activities and assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
  • It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

Q. The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is constituted under the

(a) Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

(b) Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999

(c) Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

(d) Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Answer: (c) Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  • In the wake of the Bhopal tragedy, the Government of India enacted the Environment Protection Act of 1986 under Article 253 of the Constitution. The act got passed in March 1986 and on 19 November 1986 came into force.
  • The purpose of the Act is to implement the decisions of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment of 1972.
  • The decisions relate to the protection and improvement of the human environment and the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property.
  • The Act is an “umbrella” for legislations designed to provide a framework for Central Governmentcoordination of the activities of various central and state authorities established under previous Acts, such as the Water Act and the Air Act.
  • In this Act, the main emphasis is given to “environment”, “pollution”, “pollutants”, and “hazardous substances”.
  • Through this Act Central Government gets full power for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment.
  • Rules under this Act
    • Rules 1989 for regulating GM Crops
    • EIA rules2006
    • Eco-Sensitive Area(Zone) rules, 1988
    • CRZ rules, 2018 based on Shailesh Nayak Committee

Read here: Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

Q. In a particular region in India, the local people train the roots of living trees into robust bridges across the streams. As the time passes, these bridges become stronger. These unique ‘living root bridges’ are found in

(a) Meghalaya

(b) Himachal Pradesh

(c) Jharkhand

(d) Tamil Nadu

Answer: (a) Meghalaya

  • The entwined roots of Indian rubber trees form bridges by training tree roots to knit together.
  • The Khasi and Jaintia people of Rewai village in Meghalaya make the living tree root bridges. 
  • The Indian rubber tree produces strong rope like aerial roots which ones last into a scaffold of hollowed-out betel nuts or tied to bamboo stalks.  
  • They take decades to grow horizontally across steep ravines and river banks.
  • The living foot Bridge can hold up to 50 people at a time.  
  • They endure for almost 500 to 600 years and grow stronger over time.
roots of living trees

Q. With reference to ‘Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society and indigenous peoples.
  2. It provides financial aid to universities, individual scientists and institutions involved in scientific forestry research to develop eco-friendly and climate adaptation technologies for sustainable forest management.
  3. It assists the countries in their ‘REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+)’ efforts by providing them with financial and technical assistance.

Select the correct answer using the code” given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
  • The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society, and indigenous people focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserving forest carbon stocks, promoting sustainable forest management, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries, also known as REDD+.
  • The FCPF was created in 2007 by the World Bank and The Nature Conservancy as an initiative to assist countries in engaging with an emerging concept known as REDD+.
    • It came into force in June 2008
  • It complements REDD+ by creating awareness of its readiness and future systems. 
  • Objectives of the forest carbon partnership facilities are:
    • To assist countries in their REDD+ efforts by providing them with essential financial and technical assistance resulting in capacity building. 
      • Mozambique is the first country to receive payments from a World Bank trust fund to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, often known as REDD+.
      • Since 2019, Mozambique has received $6.4 million from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) for decreasing 1.28 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
    • To pilot a performance-based payment system ensuring equitable benefit sharing. 
    • Ways to sustain or enhance the livelihood of local communities and to conserve biodiversity. 
    • To disseminate knowledge gained in the development of the facility and the implementation of readiness preparation proposals.
FCPF Readiness Fund
  • The FCPF Readiness Fund assists nations in laying the groundwork for REDD+ implementation.
  • Designing national REDD+ policies, generating reference emission levels, constructing measuring, reporting, and verification systems, and establishing national REDD+ management arrangements, including appropriate environmental and social protections, are all part of this.
  • Current financing is worth $400 million.
  • Its main activities include:
    • Creating national REDD+ reference scenarios
    • Adopting a national REDD+ strategy to reduce emissions, conserve biodiversity, and improve the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and other forest dwellers.
    • Creating and implementing precise measurement, monitoring, and verification systems to allow for reporting on emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
FCPF Carbon Fund
  • The FCPF Carbon Fund is experimenting with results-based payments to countries that have moved through REDD+ preparedness and implementation and achieved verified emission reductions in their forest and broader land-use sectors.
  • Its current funding stands at $900 million.
  • Its main activities include:
    • Economic Policies and Regulations (taxation, subsidies, rural credit, certification, law enforcement)
    • Forest Policies and Regulations (taxation, subsidies, certification, concession regimes, securing land tenure and rights, forest law, governance, and enforcement, zoning, protected areas, and payments for environmental services (PES))
    • Forest Administration (forest fires, reduced impact logging, reforestation)
    • Development of Rural Areas (community development, rural electrification, community forestry).