How to Prepare Environment For UPSC CSE | Strategy To Prepare & Environment Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Environment is included in the GS III paper in UPSC CS (Main) and in General Studies in Prelims. Since 2013, the Prelims for Indian Forest Services is combined with the UPSC Civil Services, which is why the weightage of the environment topic has increased. At times, as many as 33% of the questions in the General Studies paper are asked from the environment topic, hence it is important to prepare it extremely well. 

Secondly, issues like global warming and climate change have become some of the most major issues of the 21st century, hence, a thorough knowledge in this area would enable the potential bureaucrats to ensure they are able to implement their knowledge in policymaking. 

We’ve listed the micro-topics for environment and ecology for UPSC and also discussed the preparation strategy to effectively cover the syllabus.

UPSC Environment Syllabus 


What is Biodiversity?

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

Importance of Biodiversity – Ecosystem Services, BioResources 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

How To Prepare Environment UPSC Prelims and Mains

There is a significant overlap in the syllabus with Geography, Science & Technology as well as current affairs. Hence, if you cover the syllabus of the environment and ecology part well, then surely, you’ll have an edge in the other subjects as well. Here’s the preparation strategy devised by CL experts:

  1. Read the syllabus: Go through the syllabus of the particular subject and try to learn it so as to map the topics in your mind. By doing so, you will be able to filter out irrelevant study material and keep your preparation focused. 

  2. Glance through PYQs: PYQs will give you a basic understanding of the level of the questions that are asked which will help you in selecting your resources very judiciously. 

  3. Read Biology NCERT Class XII: The last four chapters from this book covers all the basic and foundational level concepts concisely. So, reading them would introduce you to some terms that can come in the exam.

  4. Current Affairs: Current affairs are another important area with respect to environment and ecology topics. Read editorials from the Hindu and articles from monthly magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra and prepare notes from them. Next, keep revising them to retain the concepts. 

Booklist for Environment Syllabus for UPSC Civil Services Examination

  1. NCERT Class XII Biology - Last 4 Chapters (Must)

  2. Shankar IAS Book on Environment

  3. International and National Issues from Hindu Newspaper and Yojana Magazine

This is a brief overview of the preparation strategy of Environment topic for UPSC CS preparation. Check out the weightage of this subject along with other subjects here

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Current Affairs analysis