Q. The vegetation of savannah consists of grassland with scattered small trees, but extensive areas have no trees. The forest development in such areas is generally kept in check by one or more or a combination of some conditions.

Which of the following are such conditions?

  1. Burrowing animals and termites
  2. Fire
  3. Grazing herbivores
  4. Seasonal rainfall
  5. Soil properties

Select the correct answer using the codes given below

a) 1 and 2
b) 4 and 5
c) 2, 3 and 4
d) 1, 3 and 5

Answer: c) 2, 3 and 4

  • The savanna biome, which is a type of grassland biome, consists of areas of open grassland with very few trees.
  • There are two kinds of savannas:
    • tropical and
    • semi-tropical savannas.
  • Grasslands are located on every continent except Antarctica.
  • The largest savannas are located in Africa near the equator. One of the most famous African savannas is Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, which is known for its large wildebeest and zebra populations. The park is also home to lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, and gazelles.
  • Climate
    • The savanna climate varies according to the season.
    • In the wet season, weather is warm and a savanna receives as much as 50 inches of rain.
    • But during the dry season, weather can be extremely hot, and rainfall will amount to only four inches each month.
    • This combination of high temperatures and little precipitation makes savannas perfect areas for grass and brush fires during their dry seasons.
      • Fire, whether natural or human-induced, can be a common hazard in the dry season.
  • Natural Vegetation
    • The savanna biome is often described as an area of grassland with dispersed trees or clusters of trees.
    • The lack of water makes the savanna a difficult place for tall plants such as trees to grow.
    • Grasses and trees that grow in the savanna have adapted to life with little water and hot temperatures.
    • Grasses, for example, grow quickly in the wet season when water is abundant and turn brown in the dry season to conserve water.
    • Some trees store water in their roots and only produce leaves during the wet season.
    • Due to frequent fires, grasses are short and close to the ground and some plants are fire resistant.
    • Examples of vegetation in the savanna include wild grasses, shrubs, baobab trees, and acacia trees.

Q Consider the following statements:

  1. Moringa (drumstick tree) is a leguminous evergreen tree.
  2. Tamarind tree is endemic to South Asia.
  3. In India, most of the tamarind is collected as minor forest produce.
  4. India exports tamarind and seeds of moringa.
  5. Seeds of moringa and tamarind can be used in the production of biofuels.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a) 1, 2, 4 and 5
b) 3, 4 and 5
c) 1, 3 and 4
d) 1, 2, 3 and 5

Answer: b) 3, 4 and 5

  • Moringa is a green leafy fast-growing deciduous plant, native to the Indian subcontinent. It is a non-leguminous tree. 
  • Tamarind is a leguminous tree bearing edible fruit that is indigenous to tropical Africa (and not endemic to South Asia). 
  • Tamarind is collected mostly as the minor forest produce in India. 
  • India exports tamarind and moringa seeds to the US, Germany, China, Canada, South Korea, and other European countries.  
  • Seeds of moringa and tamarind can be used for biofuel. The oil from the Moringa tree is considered to be a more sustainable biodiesel feedstock than jatropha oil.  
  • A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae, or the fruit or seed of such a plant.
  • Well-known legumes include beans, soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, tamarind, alfalfa, and clover.
    • Legumes produce a botanically unique type of fruit – a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces (opens along a seam) on two sides.
  • Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. For that reason, they play a key role in crop rotation.
  • Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, microorganisms capable of transforming atmospheric nitrogen into fixed nitrogen (inorganic compounds usable by plants).
  • Two kinds of nitrogen-fixing bacteria are recognized.
    • The first kind, the free-living (non-symbiotic) bacteria, includes the cyanobacteria (or blue-green algae) Anabaena and Nostoc and genera such as Azotobacter, Beijerinckia, and Clostridium.
    • The second kind comprises the mutualistic (symbiotic) bacteria; examples include Rhizobium, associated with leguminous plants (e.g., various members of the pea family); Frankia, associated with certain dicotyledonous species (actinorhizal plants); and certain Azospirillum species, associated with cereal grasses.
Minor Forest Produce (MFP)
  • MFP includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser etc.
  • It provides both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests. They form a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sales.
  • The Central government had introduced a minimum support price (MSP) for a select list of MFP through “Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support price and development of Value Chain of MFP” Scheme in 2011 to provide a social safety net to these underprivileged forest dwellers, and to aid in their empowerment.
  • TRIFED, as the apex national organisation involved in the improvement of the livelihood and empowerment of these tribal people, is the nodal agency for the implementation of the scheme.
    • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) was established in 1987, under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 1984. 
    • It is administered by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Q.  “Leaf litter decomposes faster than in any other biome and as a result the soil surface is often almost bare. Apart from trees, the vegetation is largely composed of plant forms that reach up into the canopy vicariously, by climbing the trees or growing as epiphytes, rooted on the upper branches of trees”. This is the most likely description of 

a)  coniferous forest

b) dry deciduous forest

c) mangrove forest

d) tropical rain forest

Answer: (d) tropical rainforest

  • Tropical rainforests are rainforests that occur in areas of tropical rainforest climate in which there is no dry season – all months have an average precipitation of at least 60 mm – and may also be referred to as lowland equatorial evergreen rainforest.

Must Read: Climatic Regions of World

Q.  Which one of the following is used in preparing a natural mosquito repellent?

a) Congress grass 

b) Elephant grass

c) Lemongrass

d) Nut grass

Answer: (c) Lemongrass

Congress grass
  • Parthenium hysterophorus: In India, it is locally known as carrot grass, congress grass or Gajar Ghas or Dhanura. It is a common invasive species in India, Australia, and parts of Africa.
  • Parthenium hysterophorus invades disturbed land, including roadsides. It infests pastures and farmland, causing often disastrous loss of yield, as reflected in common names such as famine weed.
  • The plant produces allelopathic chemicals that suppress crop and pasture plants, and allergens that affect humans and livestock. It also frequently causes pollen allergies.
  • Contact with the plant causes dermatitis and respiratory malfunction in humans, and dermatitis in cattle and domestic animals.
Elephant grass
  • Cenchrus purpureus, also known as Napier grass, elephant grass or Uganda grass, is a species of perennial tropical grass native to the African grasslands.
  • It has low water and nutrient requirements, and therefore can make use of otherwise uncultivated lands.
  • This wild species has been used primarily for grazing, recently, however, it has been used as part of a push–pull agricultural pest management strategy.
  • Napier grasses improve soil fertility, and protect arid land from soil erosion.
  • It is also utilized for firebreaks, windbreaks, in paper pulp production and most recently to produce bio-oil, biogas and charcoal.
  • Cymbopogon also known as lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, Cochin grass, Malabar grass, oily heads, citronella grass or fever grass, is a genus of Asian, African, Australian, and tropical island plants in the grass family.
  • These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellent (especially mosquitoes and houseflies) in insect sprays and candles, and aromatherapy.
  • The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps.
    • Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes as a flavoring.
  • In India, It is used as a medical herb and in perfumes. It is consumed as a tea for anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine.
Nut grass
  • Nutgrass is considered one of the world’s worse weeds.
  • Nutgrass is a weed of major economic important infesting many crops, and also an environmental weed through its ability to invade native vegetation.

Q.  Consider the following kinds of organisms: 

  1. Copepods
  2. Cyanobacteria 
  3. Diatoms
  4. Foraminifera

Which of the above are primary producers in the food chains of oceans?

a) 1 and 2 
b) 2 and 3 
c) 3 and 4 
d) 1 and 4 

Answer: b) 2 and 3 

  • Primary producers are the organisms who synthesis their own food using photosynthesis or chemosynthesis.
    • Bacteria, Phytoplankton and algae form the bases of aquatic food webs.
      • They are eaten by primary consumers like zooplankton, small fish, and crustaceans.
      • Primary consumers are in turn eaten by fish, small sharks, corals, and baleen whales.
      • Top ocean predators include large sharks, billfish, dolphins, toothed whales, and large seals.
  • Consumers
    • Some zooplankton including copepods, rotifers, and larval stages of some fish and invertebrates are grazers and drift through the water grazing on phytoplankton.
    • Larger animals, including some marine snails, fish, reptiles, and mammals, graze on algae.
    • Filter feeders strain their food (plankton and detritus) directly from the water. Filter feeding animals include animals like bivalves, tube worms, sponges, and even large animals like baleen whales and manta rays.
  • Copepods are a group of small crustaceans found in nearly every freshwater and saltwater habitat. They are major primary consumers in the World Ocean. Copepods are generally herbivores, feeding only on plant plankton which they filter from the water. 
  • Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, are microscopic organisms found naturally in all types of water. These organisms are primary producers who use sunlight to make their own food. 
  • Diatoms are photosynthesising algae. They are found in almost every aquatic environment including fresh and marine waters. They are primary producer in oceanic food chain. 
  • Foraminifera are single-celled organisms that are found in most marine environments. They are characterized by streaming granular ectoplasm for catching food. Foraminifera are heterotrophic organisms which consumes smaller organisms and organic matter. 

Q. In the nature, which of the following is/are most likely to be found surviving on a surface without soil?

  1. Fern
  2. Litchen
  3. Moss
  4. Mushroom

Select the correct answer using the code given below

a) 1 and 4 Only
b) 2 Only
c) 2 and 3
d) 1, 3 and 4

Answer: (c) 2 and 3

  • Lichens have specific requirements for their habitats. These requirements are: water, air, nutrients, light, and substrates. Every lichen lives on top of something else. The surface of that “something else” is called a substrate. Just about anything that holds still long enough for a lichen to attach to and grow is a suitable substrate. Trees, rocks, soil, houses, tombstones, cars, old farm equipment and more can be substrates. The most common natural substrates are trees and rocks. 
    • Lichens are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus and an alga.
      • The dominant partner is the fungus, which gives the lichen the majority of its characteristics, from its thallus shape to its fruiting bodies.
      • The alga can be either a green alga or a blue-green alga, otherwise known as cyanobacteria.
  • Mosses are non-flowering plants which produce spores and have stems and leaves, but don’t have true roots. So, without roots, some moss suck nutrients up through the rhizoids and others draw in moisture and minerals from rain and the water around them through their highly absorbent surfaces. It often grows from trees, absorbing water and nutrients from the atmosphere, but with proper care it can also grow indoors.  
  • Fern is a member of a group of  vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem). They grow in soils. There are four particular types of habitats that ferns are found in: moist, shady forests; crevices in rock faces, especially when sheltered from the full sun; acid wetlands including bogs and swamps; and tropical trees.
  • A mushroom or toadstool is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source. 
    • Mushroom, the conspicuous umbrella-shaped fruiting body (sporophore) of certain fungi. 
    • Mushrooms can form a symbiotic relationship with trees. Mushrooms can also be grown hydroponically as fungi. 
    • Most of the time, they grow in healthy soil. However, they could be growing because the soil contained spores, the environment is allowing for their growth or the plants are being overwatered.

Q. Consider the following statements:

Statement 1: The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Arbor Day Foundation have recently recognized Hyderabad as 2020 Tree City of the World.

Statement 2: Hyderabad was selected for recognition for a year following its commitment to grow and maintain the urban forests.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a) Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 are correct and Statement 2 is the correct explanation of Statement 1
b)Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 are correct and Statement 2 is not the correct explanation of Statement 1
c) Statement 1 is correct but Statement 2 is not correct
d) Statement 1 is not correct but Statement 2 is correct

Answer: d) Statement 1 is not correct but Statement 2 is correct

Tree Cities of the World Programme:
  • It is an international effort to recognize cities and towns committed to ensuring that their urban forests and trees are properly maintained, sustainably managed, and duly celebrated.
  • At the 2018 World Forum on Urban Forests in Mantova, Italy, world leaders issued the Mantova Green Cities Challenge and a call-for-action that included joining the Tree Cities of the World program.
  • Hyderabad has become the only city in India to be recognized as a Tree City of the World by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
  • Hyderabad is placed alongside 119 other cities from 63 countries.
  • Hyderabad is the only city in India to have been selected for this recognition in response to its commitment to growing and maintaining urban forestry through the Haritha Haram Program and Urban Forest Parks.
  • Haritha Haram is a flagship program of the Telangana government to increase the green cover of the State from the present 25.16 to 33% of the total geographical area.
  • Urban forestry helps in ensuring a better future for its residents.
Arbor Day Foundation
  • The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization founded in 1972 in Nebraska, United States, by John Rosenow.
  • It is the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to tree planting.
  • Its vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, a changing climate, deforestation, poverty, and hunger.
Food and Agriculture Organization:
  • FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on the 16th of October. The day is celebrated to mark the anniversary of the founding of the FAO in 1945.
  • India released a commemorative coin of Rs. 75 denomination to mark the 75th Anniversary of the FAO (16th October 2020).
  • It is one of the UN food aid organizations based in Rome (Italy). Its sister bodies are the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Q. With reference to the water on the planet Earth, consider the following statements:

  1. The amount of water in the rivers and lakes is more than the amount of groundwater.
  2. The amount of water in polar ice caps and glaciers is more than the amount of groundwater.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a)  1 Only
b) 2 Only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b) 2 Only

  • Of the total freshwater, 69% resides in glaciers, 30% undergroundand less than 1% is located in lakes, rivers, and swamps. Thus, the amount of water in rivers and lakes is less than amount of groundwater.  
  • Of the total freshwater, 69% resides in glaciers and 30% underground. Polar ice caps and glaciers has more water than groundwater.   

Q.  With reference to WaterCredit’, consider the following statements:

  1. It puts microfinance tools to work in the water and sanitation sector.
  2. It is a global initiative launched under the aegis of the World Health Organization and the World Bank.
  3. It aims to enable the poor people to meet their water needs without depending on subsidies.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only
b) 2 and 3 Only
c) 1 and 3 Only
d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: c) 1 and 3 Only

  • Water.org is a global nonprofit organization working to bring water and sanitation to the world.
  • Its main objective is to make it safe, accessible, and cost-effective.
  • WaterCredit is a powerful solution and the first to put microfinance tools to work in the water and sanitation sector.
  • WaterCredit helps bring small loans to those who need access to affordable financing and expert resources to make household water and toilet solutions a reality.
  • Water.org offers a portfolio of smart solutions that break down the financial barriers between people living in poverty and access to safe water and sanitation.
  • The WaterCredit Initiative work with our in-country financial partners to add loans for water and sanitation solutions to their portfolios.
  • These partners then mobilize funding from capital markets to provide affordable loans to people in need of water.
  • People living in poverty use these loans to put a tap or toilet in their homes.
  • Every repaid loan creates the opportunity for another family to get the safe water and toilets they need, fast and affordably.
  • It is a pay-it-forward system that makes it possible to help more people in ways that will last.
  • It does not work under World Health Organization and the World Bank.

Q.  ‘R2 Code of Parctices’ constitutes a tool available for promoting the adoption of

  1. environmentally responsible practices in electronics recycling industry
  2. ecological management of ‘wetlands of International Importance’ under the Ramsar Convention
  3. sustainable practices in the cultivation of agricultural crops in degraded lands
  4. ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ in the exploitation of natural resources

Answer: 1. environmentally responsible practices in electronics recycling industry

  • R2 stands for Responsible Recycling and is a standard specifically created for the electronics recycling industry by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI).
  • The standard is described as “Responsible Recycling (“R2″) Practices for Use in Accredited Certification Programs for Electronics Recyclers”.
  • R2 certified companies to have a policy on managing used and end-of-life electronics equipment, components and materials based on strategies such as reuse, materials and energy recovery and/or disposal.
  • This certification is intended for electronics recyclers.

Q.  Why is there a concern about copper smelting plants?

  1. They may release lethal quantities of carbon monoxide into environment.
  2. The copper slag can cause the leaching of some heavy metals into environment.
  3. They may release sulphur dioxide as a pollutant.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

a) 1 and 2 Only
b) 2 and 3 Only
c) 1 and 3 Only
d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: b) 2 and 3 Only

  • In copper smelting process, first, the carbon (C) combusts with oxygen (O2) in the air to produce carbon monoxide (CO). Second, the carbon monoxide reacts with the ore and removes one of its oxygen atoms, releasing carbon dioxide. Hence, it does not release lethal quantity of CO in the environment
  • Copper smelters emit staggering amounts of toxic pollution i.e., lead, arsenic and selenium. These heavy metals and particulate matter from copper smelters contaminate the environment downwind and downstream. 
  • Copper smelters are the largest source of sulphur oxides (SOx) and trace elements. Suspended particles have a pollution scope of 2-3 km, while Sulphur dioxide has a range of as much as 15 km. 

Q.  With reference to furnace oil, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a product of oil refineries.
  2. Some industries use it to generate power.
  3. Its use causes sulphur emissions into Environment.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only
b) 2 and 3 Only
c) 1 and 3 Only
d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: d) 1, 2 and 3

  • Furnace Oil is one of the cheapest fuels available for industrial use.
  • It is a by-product of petroleum refineries.
  • Furnace oil is a dark coloured fuel, either distilled or residual fraction of crude oil that is extracted while petroleum distillation and is used for the purpose of generation heat and power.
  • This fuel is sticky, thick and glutinous in nature.
  • Furnace oil is known by the name of fuel oil internationally and also as bunker fuel.
  • It is used primarily for steam boilers in power plants, aboard ships, and in industrial plants. Various categories of industries such as cement, thermal power plant, fertilizers, nitric acid, lime kiln, ceramic, glass, foundry, reheating furnaces, calcium carbide, aluminium, boiler-based industries etc., use pet coke and furnace oil for various purposes including as fuel.
  • It causes huge emissions of sulphur dioxide and secondary sulphate formation as particulate matter (PM). 

Q. What is blue carbon?

a) Carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems

b) Carbon sequestered in forest biomass and agricultural soils

c) Carbon contained in petroleum and natural gas.

d) Carbon present in atmosphere

Answer: a) Carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems

  • Blue carbon is simply the term for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems.
  • The coastal ecosystems of mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows contain large stores of carbon deposited by vegetation and various natural processes over centuries.
  • These ecosystems sequester and store more carbon, often referred to as ‘blue carbon’ per unit area than terrestrial forests.
  • The ability of these vegetated ecosystems to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere makes them significant net carbon sinks, and they are now being recognised for their role in mitigating climate change.
  • Coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows sequester and store more carbon per unit area than terrestrial forests and are now being recognised for their role in mitigating climate change.
  • These ecosystems also provide essential benefits for climate change adaptation, including coastal protection and food security for many coastal communities.
  • However, if the ecosystems are degraded or damaged, their carbon sink capacity is lost or adversely affected, and the carbon stored is released, resulting in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) that contribute to climate change.
  • Conserving and restoring terrestrial forests, and more recently peatlands, has been recognised as an important component of climate change mitigation.
  • Several countries are developing policies and programmes in support of sustainable development through initiatives that reduce the carbon footprint associated with the growth of their economies.
  • These include actions to conserve and sustainably manage natural systems relevant to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including through the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) mechanism and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Black Carbon
  • Black carbon, or soot, is part of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) and contributes to climate change.
  • Black carbon is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels.
  • Complete combustion would turn all carbon in the fuel into carbon dioxide (CO2), but combustion is never complete and CO2, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and organic carbon and black carbon particles are all formed in the process. The complex mixture of particulate matter resulting from incomplete combustion is often referred to as soot.
  • Black carbon is a short-lived climate pollutant with a lifetime of only days to weeks after release in the atmosphere. During this short period of time, black carbon can have significant direct and indirect impacts on the climate, the cryosphere (snow and ice), agriculture and human health.
Black carbon

Q. Consider the following animals:

  1. Hedgehog
  2. Marmot
  3. Pangolin

To reduce the chance of being captured by predators, which of the above organisms rolls up/roll up and protects/ protect its/their vulnerable parts?

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

Answer: d)1 and 3 

  • The hedgehog was named because of its peculiar foraging methods. These animals root through hedges and other undergrowth in search of the small creatures that compose the bulk of their diet—insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes. As a hedgehog picks its way through the hedges it emits piglike grunts—thus, the hedgehog.
  • Hedgehogs have a coat of stiff, sharp spines. If attacked they will curl into a prickly and unappetizing ball that deters most predators. They usually sleep in this position during the day and awaken to search for food at night.
  • Hedgehogs hibernate in cold climates. In deserts, they sleep through heat and drought in a similar process called aestivation. They remain active all year in more temperate locations.
  • Marmots are large ground squirrels in the genus Marmota, with 15 species living in Asia, Europe, and North America. These herbivores are active during the summer, when they can often be found in groups, but are not seen during the winter, when they hibernate underground.
  • Marmots are large rodents with characteristically short but robust legs, enlarged claws which are well adapted to digging, stout bodies, and large heads and incisors to quickly process a variety of vegetation.
  • While most species are various forms of earthen-hued brown, marmots vary in fur coloration based roughly on their surroundings.
  • Pangolins are sometimes mistaken as reptiles, but they are actually scaly-skinned mammals. When in danger, the pangolin can roll into a ball, exposing only the tough scales for protection.
  • They certainly are one of the most trafficked mammals in Asia and, increasingly, Africa. Pangolins are in high demand in countries like China and Vietnam.
    • Their meat is considered a delicacy and pangolin scales are used in traditional medicine and folk remedies to treat a range of ailments from asthma to rheumatism and arthritis.
    • There is also demand in the Americas for their skins used to make leather products like boots, bags, and belts.
  • All eight pangolin species are protected under national and international laws but that is not stopping the massive international illegal trade in pangolins, which has increased in recent years because of growing demand.
  • WWF, together with TRAFFIC, is working in Asia and Africa to protect pangolins and other species from wildlife crime.

Q. With reference to the ‘New York Declaration on Forests’. Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. It was first endorsed at the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014. 
  2. It endorses a global timeline to end the loss of forests.
  3. It is a legally binding international declaration. 
  4. It is endorsed by governments, big companies and indigenous communities.
  5. India was one of the signatories at its inception. 

Select the Correct answer using the code given below.

a) 1, 2 and 4
b) 1, 3 and 5 
c) 3 and 4 
d) 2 and 5 

Answer: a) 1, 2 and 4

  • The New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) was endorsed at the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2014.  
  • New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) emphasises tengoals which includes halting natural forest loss by 2030. The targets also include restoring 350 million hectares of degraded landscapes and forestlands, improving governance, increasing forest finance, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as part of a post-2020 global climate agreement. 
  • The New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) is a voluntary and non-binding international declaration to take action to halt global deforestation 
  • It has presently over 200 endorsers – including national governments, subnational governments, companies, indigenous groups, financial institutions and NGOs. These endorsers have committed to doing their part to achieve the NYDF goals and follow its accompanying action agenda. 
  • Presently, India has not signed the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF). 

Q. Magnetite particles, suspected to cause neurodegenerative problems, are generated as environmental pollutants from which of the following? 

  1. Brakes of motor vehicles 
  2. Engines of motor vehicles 
  3. Microwave stoves within homes
  4. Power plants
  5. Telephone lines

Select the correct answer using the code given below

a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 Only 
b) 1, 2 and 4 Only
c) 3, 4 and 5 Only
d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Answer: b) 1, 2 and 4 Only

  • Magnetite particles are a highly magnetic mineral form of iron and are known to be present in air pollution.
  • Exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) is associated with pulmonary, cardiovascular and neurological problems.
  • Magnetite, a mixed Fe2+/Fe3+ oxide, is ubiquitous and abundant in PM in urban environments and might play a specific role in both neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease. 
  • Magnetite has been found in homing pigeons, migratory salmon and even bats, and is believed to play a role in their directional orientation.   
  • Vehicle brake systems are the major source of airborne magnetite at the roadside.
  • Petrol and diesel-engine exhaust are also a source of airborne magnetite.
  • Other sources of Magnetite pollution include Power plants.

Q. Which one of the following is a filter feeder?

a) Catfish

b) Octopus

c) Oyster

d) Pelican

Answer: c) Oyster

  • Oyster is the common name for a number of different families of salt-water bivalve molluscs that live in marine or brackish habitats.
  • In some species, the valves are highly calcified, and many are somewhat irregular in shape. Many, but not all oysters are in the superfamily Ostreoidea.
  • Oysters are efficient filter feeders that help remove excess nitrogen from waters by incorporating it into their shells and tissue as they grow.
    • Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants and animals, but too much nitrogen, often from fertilizer runoff and septic tanks, boosts the growth of algae, which overwhelm water bodies and ultimately reduce oxygen levels in them.
  • Oysters are natural filters. They capture the particles of size as small as 4 micrometers  on their gills. Their gills act as filter which is self-cleaning.  
    • Generally, water get filtered by something which is static so that water can easily pass through them and get filtered. Pelicans, Catfish and Octopus are large organisms. Oysters are small organisms, found cemented to rocks or other hard substrates.
Filter Feeder
  • Filter feeders are a sub-group of suspension feeding animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialized filtering structure.
  • Some animals that use this method of feeding are clams, krill, sponges, baleen whales, and many fish.

Q. In case of which one of the following biogeochemical cycles, the weathering of rocks is the main source of release of nutrient to enter the cycle?

a) carbon cycle

b) Nitrogen cycle

c) Phosphorus Cycle

d) Sulphur Cycle

Answer: c) Phosphorus Cycle

  • The phosphorus cycle is the biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of phosphorus through the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.
  • Phosphorus moves in a cycle through rocks, water, soil and sediments and organisms.
  • Over time, rain and weathering cause rocks to release phosphate ions and other minerals.
  • This inorganic phosphate is then distributed in soils and water.
  • Plants take up inorganic phosphate from the soil.
  • Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for animals and plants.
  • It plays a critical role in cell development and is a key component of molecules that store energy, such as ATP (adenosine triphosphate), DNA and lipids.
  • The global phosphorus cycle includes four major processes:
    • Tectonic uplift and exposure of phosphorus-bearing rocks such as apatite to surface weathering.
    • Physical erosion, and chemical and biological weathering of phosphorus-bearing rocks to provide dissolved and particulate phosphorus to soils, lakes and rivers.
    • Riverine and subsurface transportation of phosphorus to various lakes and run-off to the ocean.
    • Sedimentation of particulate phosphorus (e.g., phosphorus associated with organic matter and oxide/carbonate minerals) and eventually burial in marine sediments.

Q. Which of the following are detritivores?

  1. Earthworms
  2. Jellyfish
  3. Millipedes
  4. Seahorses
  5. Woodlice

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1, 2 and 4 Only
  2. 2, 3, 4 and 5 Only
  3. 1, 3 and 5 Only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Answer: 1, 3 and 5 Only

  • Detritivores are the organism that feeds on detritus. A detritivore is a heterotrophic organism, which obtains its nutrition by feeding on detritus.
  • Detritus is the organic matter made up of dead plant and animal material.
  • Detritivores may also obtain nutrition by coprophagy, which is a feeding strategy involving the consumption of faeces.
  • Detritivores are often invertebrate insects such as mites, beetles, butterflies and flies; mollusks such as slugs and snails; or soil-dwelling earthwormsmillipedes and woodlice.
  • Examples of detritivores in marine environments are crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, echinoderms such as sea stars or sea cucumbers.
  • Many of these marine detritivores occupy a similar niche to terrestrial soil-dwellers, living on or within the seabed known as the benthos. These organisms are often called “bottom-feeders”.
  • Alternatively in aquatic ecosystems, stationary polychaete worms, barnacles and some corals derive their energy through filter-feeding on floating organic detritus called ”marine snow”.
  • Detritivores and decomposers contribute to the breakdown of all of the dead and decaying material in any ecosystem.
  • In this way, they play an important role in the cycling of nutrients and are an essential part of most biogeochemical cycles, such as the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle and phosphorus cycle.
  • Sea horses are tiny fish that are named for the shape of their head, which looks like the head of a tiny horse. They are classified as fish, in the genus Hippocampus.
  • There are 46 species of seahorses reported worldwide. The coastal ecosystems of India house 9 out of 12 species found in the Indo-Pacific.
  • They are found in shallow coastal waters in latitudes from about 52° N to 45°S.
  • seahorse gains energy by eating other live organisms, meaning it is a carnivore.
    • A seahorse is not a decomposer because decomposers gain energy from breaking down dead organisms.
  • Seahorse populations in India are distributed across diverse ecosystems such as seagrass, mangroves, macroalgal beds, and coral reefs.
  • Distribution in India:
    • These 9 species are distributed along the coasts of eight States and five Union Territories from Gujarat to Odisha, apart from Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Slow Swimmers:
    • When swimming they maintain a vertical position and propel themselves forward using a soft-rayed dorsal fin.
    • They migrate by rafting, clinging to floating substrata such as macroalgae or plastic debris for dispersal by ocean currents.
  • Unique Reproductive Habits:
    • The male gives birth to child as the female uses an ovipositor (egg duct) to place her eggs into a brood pouch located at the base of the male’s tail where the eggs are later fertilized.
  • Jellyfish are mainly free-swimming marine animals with umbrella-shaped bells and trailing tentacles, although a few are anchored to the seabed by stalks rather than being mobile. The bell can pulsate to provide propulsion for highly efficient locomotion.
  • Jellyfish are carnivores and excellent predators.
    • They sting with tentacles to subdue small aquatic fish and eat the eggs and invertebrates that stick to their tentacles.

Q. The ‘Common Carbon Metric’, supported by UNEP, has been developed for

a) assessing the carbon footprint of building operations around the world

b) enabling commercial farming entities around the world to enter carbon emission trading

c) enabling governments to assess the overall carbon footprint caused by their countries

d) assessing the overall carbon foot-print caused by the use of fossil fuels by the world in a unit time

Answer: a) assessing the carbon footprint of building operations around the world

  • Carbon footprint of an entity is the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by that entity. 
  • The Common Carbon Metric is a protocol developed by United Nations Environment Program’s Sustainable Buildings & Climate Initiative (UNEP-SBCI) for measuring energy use & reporting GHG emissions from Building Operations.  
  • Its purpose is to support greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions through accurate measurement of energy efficiency improvements in building operations. 

Q. Which of the following have species that can establish symbiotic relationship with other organisms?

  1. Cnidarians
  2. Fungi
  3. Protozoa

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

a) 1 and 2 Only
b) 2 and 3 Only
c) 1 and 3 Only
d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: d) 1, 2 and 3

  • Symbiotic relationship refers to any relationship or interaction between two dissimilar organisms.
  • The specific kind of symbiosis depends on whether either or both organisms benefit from the relationship.
  • There are five main symbiotic relationships:
    • Mutualism
    • Commensalism
    • Predation
    • Parasitism
    • Competition     
  • Cnidarians – Cnidarians are radially symmetrical, soft-bodied animals found in aquatic habitats.
    • Their common names are sea anemones, jellyfish, corals and hydras. Some other cnidarians include Portuguese men-of-war, sea fans, sea pens and sea whips.
    • Mostly marine entities while few such as hydra are found in freshwater.
    • The relationship between cnidarians and dinoflagellate algae is termed “symbiotic” because both the animal host and the algae are benefiting from the association. It is a mutualistic interaction.
  • Fungi – Fungi are any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms.
    • Many fungi are involved in symbiotic relationships. Some fungi are parasites. They are specialized to penetrate a host and break down the host’s tissues.
    • Two common mutualistic relationships involving fungi are mycorrhiza (fungi and plant roots) and lichen (fungi and either cyanobacteria or green algae).
  • Protozoa –  Protozoa are single-celled organisms.
    • The Protozoa are considered to be a subkingdom of the kingdom Protista, although in the classical system they were placed in the kingdom Animalia.
    • More than 50,000 species have been described, most of which are free-living organisms. 
    • Protozoa are found in almost every possible habitat.  
    • Protozoa mostly represent a close mutualistic association between a protozoan and unicellular symbionts such as bacteria, cyanobacteria or/and unicellular algae or protozoans and a multicellular organisms such as ruminants, lower termites, wood-eating cockroaches, plants.