#13: Environment & Ecology : Booklist , Syllabus & Preparation Strategy

What is the Environment? What does the term Environment & Ecology stand for?

 The questions from this topic are generally asked in General studies 3 paper. This is one of the topics asked in the GS 3 Mains Exam. The topic is concise and is very relatable to one’s knowledge. Environment refers to the interaction between the physical, chemical and biological components. Ecology is the study of relationship between organisms and their environment/ The environmental issues include pollution, deforestation, global warming, and other broader issues. 

What is the syllabus for the topic? Should an aspirant read magazines to cover the topic? 

The topic of Environment and Ecology is concise and easy to is the syllabus provided by the UPSC:


What is Biodiversity?

Types of Biodiversity – Genetic, Species, Ecosystem, etc.

Importance of Biodiversity – Ecosystem Services, Bio Resources of Economic Importance, Social Benefits, etc.

Reasons for Loss of Biodiversity


In-situ & Ex-Situ

Eco-Sensitive Areas

Ecological Hotspots

National Guidelines, Legislations & Other Programmes.

International Agreements & Groupings

Environmental Pollution & Degradation

Types of Pollution & Pollutants

Impact of Pollution & Degradation

Ozone Layer Depletion and Ozone Hole

Greenhouse Gas Effect & Global Warming



Acid Rain

Hazardous Waste, etc.

Causes/Sources of Pollution & Degradation

Prevention & Control of Pollution & Degradation

National Environment Agencies, Legislations and Policies

International Environment Agencies & Agreements

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

What is EIA?

Indian Guidelines & Legislations

EIA Process

Need & Benefits of EIA

Shortcomings of EIA in India

Measures to Make EIA Effective

Disaster Management

Types of Disasters

Management of Disasters

Community Level Disaster Management

Government Initiatives on Disaster Management

One should always keep the syllabus in handy before starting the preparation. In recent times almost 30% questions are asked from Environment so one may have a good grasp over the subject.

Is there any separate booklist for the subject? What books should an aspirant refer to?

To help articulate the topic and understand the demand one should refer to following standard resources:

  • NCERT Class XII Biology – Last 4 Chapters (Must)
  • Shankar IAS Book on Environment
  • International and National Issues from Hindu Newspaper and Yojana Magazine

How should we approach the subject ? What should be the strategic plan for the same?

A good approach means smart planning which is directly proportional to understanding of the crux of the topic. Plan the topic according to your time and syllabus. Refer to relevant resources and clear your doubts regarding the subject. Make notes and interlink the subject with current events . Give previous year papers a good read and understand the kind of questions being asked . If necessary do refer to  answer sheets of the toppers to understand the plan for writing . But before doing this, clear the basics by referring to NCERT’s.

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