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Ecology is a subject which studies organisms and their interactions with themselves and with their physical environment.

Ecosystem is a functional unit of nature where the living organisms interact with each other and also with surrounding environment.

                                                                                                                                                                             Fig 1: Biosphere to Individual

India is among the 12 mega biodiversity countries in the world. Of all the species in the world 70% are animals and rest are plants.

In animals 70% are insects. 8 percent of all species live in India. 

In general, species diversity decreases as we move from equator towards the poles.

The tropics have remained relatively undisturbed unlike the temperate regions that have seen glaciations. Tropical environments are less seasonal and more stable. Constant environments promote niche specialization and species diversity. However 40% of forest area has been lost in tropics compared to 1% in temperate areas.

In the North India there is a vast expanse of terrain consisting of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The peninsular plateau in south is made of igneous and metamorphic rocks.

47000 plant species are present in India. The country is 10th in World and 4th in Asia in terms of biodiversity. There are 15000 flowering plants that account for 6% of the worlds. 1200 bird species constituting 13% of worlds total and 2500 fish species constituting 12% of world’s fishes are present in India.  Biodiversity decreases with increase in altitude.

Biodiversity Hotspots or mega diversity reserves are place for in-situ conservation of most threatened

reservoirs of bio diversity on earth. The criteria for a hotspot as said by Prof. Norman Myersare:

  1. The area should support >1500 endemic species
  2. It must have lost over 70% of its original habitat.

The variations in temperature of the place along with the variations in the precipitation have created biomes on earth viz. Deserts, grasslands, tropical, temperate, coniferous forests and arctic and tundra regions. Regional and local variations in the biomes have created many habitats.

A large ecosystem with its own distinct type of vegetation and animal life is called biome.

Niche means sum of activities and relationships of a species by which it uses all resources in its habitat for survival and reproduction. No two species can have the same niche.

Ecotone is a zone of junction between two or more ecosystems. E.g. Mangroves are zone between marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Habitats of organisms comprise of biotic and abiotic components like temperature, water, light and soil.

Organisms and Environment

Eurythermal organisms tolerate vast range of temperatures and Stenothermal tolerate a narrow range of temperature.

Aquatic animals face problem due to pH and salt concentration of water. Fresh water organisms can’t live in salt water and vice versa due to osmotic pressure. Euryhaline can tolerate vast range of salinity and stenohaline cant.

40% of all known fish species are found in the freshwater ecosystem.

Light too is an important component as it is needed in photosynthesis. The animals to need it as they determine their foraging, migratory, reproductive activities based on the photoperiod.

Soil too is important as the composition, grain size and aggregation determines the grain size and this decides the water retention capacity. Various types of vegetation are possible based on this and this in turn supports a different section of wildlife.

Responses to Abiotic factors:

Mammals, birds, a few vertebrates and invertebrates are capable of regulation both Thermo – regulation and Osmo – regulation.

They sweat during summer due to excess heat to cool the body. In winter they shiver to generate heat. No plants and 99% of animals can’t regulate and hence are called conformers.

Since body heat loss or gain is proportional to their surface area the small animals lose heat fast as their body area is less compared to their volume. Hence more energy will be lost in regulating. Thus they prefer conformation. 

These animals prefer to migrate or go into hibernation during unfavorable conditions.

Adaptation: an attribute of an organism that enables it to survive and reproduce in the habitat.

E.g.: kangaroo rats in North America meet their water requirements by internal fat oxidation. Desert plants use CAM pathway for photosynthesis. Mammals in colder areas have shorter ears and limbs. Polar mammals have a thick layer of fat below their skin to act as insulator.

Nature of interaction between species:

  1. Predation: here the predator is the one who benefits and the prey loses.
  2. Competition: multiple species compete for the same resource.
  3. Parasitism: the parasite is benefited but the host is affected adversely.
  4. Commensalism: the host isn’t benefited or harmed but the other species derives benefit
  5. Mutualism: both the associating species benefit
  6. Amensalism: one species is harmed but the other is unaffected.
  7. Neutralism: species which interact but don’t affect each other in any way. It is very rare or nonexistent.

Energy and Environment

Sun is the only form of energy for the entire biosphere. Of the total solar energy incident on the earth only 50% is photo-synthetically active. Out of this 2% is used by the plants and this sustains all life.

Green plants are the producers, the herbivore animals consume them and the carnivores consume the herbivores. Thus energy moves from one trophic level to the next. After the death of the carnivores decomposers convert their body into humus which is again used by the plants. Thus energy flow is circular.



                                                                        Fig 1: Circular flow of energy

The energy that flows from one trophic level to the next is 10% of its total. The biomass at each level is calculated from the dry weight of the organism at the level, it too goes on decreasing for each trophic level. Hence both the energy and biomass structures are pyramidal. This isn’t seen at the aquatic biomass pyramid where a small standing crop of phytoplankton supports a larger mass of zooplankton.

                                                                                                                                    Fig 2: Energy pyramid of terrestrial systems

Biodiversity in marine ecosystem is higher than the terrestrial ecosystem. Insects and vascular plants are completely absent here.

Maximum diversity in marine organisms is seen in the tidal zone near the shore.

Estuary is a place where a river or lake opens into the sea. It is partially enclosed area at the mouth of the river where fresh water and salty sea water mix. Plants and animals in estuary have adapted themselves to variations in salinity. 


                                                                                                                                            Fig 3: Inverted pyramid of marine systems


  1. In situ: threatened plants and animals are preserved in their natural habitats by declaring these as protected areas. E.g.: national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves.
  1. Ex-situ: threatened animals and plants are taken out of their habitats and placed outside their natural setting in a place where they can be protected and cared. E.g.: zoological parks, cryo-preservation, botanical gardens, gene banks, conservation at molecular level.

Ecological succession:

Process by which communities of plants and animals species in an area are changed or replaced into another over a period of time is known as ecological succession.

Succession can be:

  • Primary: this takes place on bare or unoccupied surface. The plant or animal species that invades this area are called pioneer species. This species show a high growth rate but a short life span.
  • Secondary: this is the community that is formed after the community that occupied the region is removed or destroyed due to natural or human related events.



    Air pollution and control:

    An average human needs 12-15 times more air than food.

    Particulate matter of size 2.5 microns or less causes greatest harm to humans. These can’t be removed even by electrostatic precipitators which remove 99% of all particulate matter from exhaust of thermal power plants.

    Even for cars that emit toxic fumes, the presence of catalytic converters is essential. In these converters metals like platinum – palladium, rhodium are present. These convert the un-burnt hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitric oxide into water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas.

    But unleaded petrol must be used otherwise the catalyst in the converters are inactivated by lead.

    Triethyl lead is used as an anti knock agent for smooth running of vehicles. The lead if inhaled then causes damage to kidney, liver and development of red blood cells.

    In cities, clouded high rise buildings trap the warm air and thus raise the temperature of the cities. These creates Urban Heat Islands.

                                                                                                                                                       Fig 1: Urban heating effect

    Iron and steel industries produce blast furnace slag, steel melting slag and fly ash. This is non biodegradable and now it’s used by cement industry to make blended cement.

    Global warming is the rise of temperature of the earth due to absorption of long wave terrestrial radiation by the green house gases. 3°c increase can lead to decrease in precipitation by 10%. It will cause polar icecaps to melt and flood the coastal areas. Coastal ecosystems like swamps and marshes will be damaged. Rainfall may fluctuate and grains may mature early leading to smaller grain size and lower yield. Hurricanes, tornadoes may increase in intensity. Temperate areas might lose soil moisture lowering agricultural productivity.

    Due to rise in water temperatures the smaller fishes are migrating to other areas and the bigger fishes are affected. Big fishes may become extinct affecting marine ecosystem and livelihoods of fishermen.

    The UV radiations from the sun are of three categories – A, B, C. UV- C radiations are the most damaging to humans.

    Water pollution and control:

    When sewage water is released in the rivers the microbes use up more oxygen for degradation as it’s oxygen requiring process. This increases the biochemical oxygen demand. The oxygen isn’t available for aquatic animals and plants and hence they die.

    When excess nutrients are present in soil the planktonic organisms bloom and hence the competition for fishes and other plants increase. This leads to algal bloom and fish mortality. The water quality also deteriorates. This is called Accelerated Eutrophication.

    An algal weed named water hyacinth is known as the terror of Bengal for its fast growing rate.

    Limit of photosynthesis i.e. Penetration of sunlight below the ocean surface is 125m.

                                                                                                      Fig 2: Light and ocean

    Thermal pollution is caused when the heated water released by thermal, nuclear, chemical industries is released into river, seas and oceans. The aquatic animals are suited to a constant temperature and when the temperature increases above a range it affects them. The hot water increases their metabolism and affects their growth.

    Mosquito borne diseases related with water:

    1. Malaria – female anopheles mosquito
    2. Filariasis – Culex mosquito
    3. Dengue – Aedes Aeqypti

    International drinking standards for water:

    1. Fluoride: the concentration of fluorine in water should be 1 ppm. This converts the hydroxyapatite on the surface of the teeth into flourapatite thus hardening them.
    2. Lead: the concentration should e 50 ppm otherwise it will damage health.
    3. Sulphate:
    4. Nitrate: Methemoglobinemia.
    5. Minamata disease caused due to mercury poisoning as high quantity of mercury was released in water.
    6. Itai – Itai disease is caused by cadmium poisoning. Lead causes displexia.
    7. Black lung disease or pneumoconiosis is due to deposits of coal in lungs of miners.

    85% of Indian population depends on ground water for its domestic consumption.


    It is a form of energy travelling through space.

    Non ionizing: these are electro-magnetic waves with long wavelengths that have energy to excite the electrons to vibrate faster but not to ionize them.

    Ionizing: These are of short wavelengths and cause ionizing of water molecules. These break the chemical bonds and damage living tissues.

    Radiation damage can be somatic or genetic. Somatic doesn’t affect genes or mutation. Genetic affects genes resulting in birth defects. These are passed on to the next generation. 

    Chapter 3: SEASONS


    • Seasons in India are of four broad categories:
      • Summer [ hot weather season] March to May
      • Winter [ cold weather season] December to February
      • Rainy [ southwest monsoon season ] June to September
      • Autumn [ season of retreating monsoon] October – November
    • Weather is the day to day or hour to hour condition of the atmosphere. The average weather conditions of a place for a longer period are known as climate. Climate of a place is dependent on its distance from the sea, altitude, location and relief.

    Weather and Conditions

    The northern part of India falls in the sub tropical and temperate zone and the southern part lies in the tropical zone. The southern region has smaller annual and diurnal temperature range but the northern region has higher range.

    People living on the coast have an equable temperature throughout the year due to moderation by sea but people living in the interiors experience extreme weather.

    In places that are colder, the air becomes heavy. The cold heavy air sinks and creates a high pressure. High pressure area is associated with a clear sunny sky.

    Indian winter:

    1. Apparent movement of the sun to the southern hemisphere. The northern region becomes colder and high pressure conditions develop on the north of the Himalayas.
    2. The air flows from this region to the Indian subcontinent south of the Himalayas.
    3. These surface winds blew from central India to the Indian subcontinent as dry air mass. They also come in contact with the northwestern trade winds.
    4. At the upper level of troposphere 9-13 km from the surface the jet stream blows from west to east in the area north of the Himalayas, at the Tibetan plateau the jet stream gets bifurcated. The northern arm blows eastward parallel to the Tibetan plateau and the southern arm goes to the south of the Himalayas.
    5. This southern arm is responsible for Indian winters.



                                                                                                                                                    Fig 1: Indian winter

    Vegetation of India is divided into five types:



                                                                                                                                                       Fig 2: Vegetation map of India

    1. Tropical evergreen forest: occur in areas with heavy rainfall. They are so dense that sunlight doesn’t reach the ground. Many species of trees are found here that shed their leaves at different points of the year. As a result they always appear green and hence are called evergreen. E.g. Mahogany, ebony, rosewood.

    Tropical forest is well stratified. Layers closer to the ground are covered with shrubs and creepers, followed by short structured trees and tall structured trees.

    1. Tropical deciduous forest: these trees are found in a large area in India. The shed their leaves at a particular time of the year. E.g. Sal, Teak, Neem, Peepal and Shisham.


    1. Thorny bushes: they are found on the dry land where precipitation is scanty. Hence their leaves are modified into spines.


    1. Mountain vegetation: at height of 1500-2500m trees are of conical shape. These are coniferous trees which are Chir, Pine and Deodhar.

    This is of two types southern Montane and northern montane forests.

    1. Mangrove vegetation: these can survive salty water. India has 7% of the mangroves plantation of the world. 0.14% of its area has mangroves. Sunderban mangroves are the only ones in the world where tiger population is found. Mangroves act as a barrier to landward winds during cyclones and protect the coastal regions.

    Mangroves in the eastern region of India are more luxuriant and diverse due to the presence of nutrient rich deltas of the rivers.

    The east and northeast margins of continents are covered by temperate evergreen and temperate deciduous trees. The west and southwest margins of continents are covered with Mediterranean vegetation.



                                                            Fig 3: Altitude wise vegetation stratification

    In Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, Himalayan yew trees are found that are used to obtain Taxol – a chemical that cures cancers. Quinine – to cure malaria is from cinchona tree, drug for leukemia from vinca rosea. Aspirin – tropical willow tree.

    In mountainous regions, the decreasing temperature with increasing altitude leads to corresponding change in the natural vegetation. In this ranges all types of vegetation occur from tropical to tundra. Wet temperate forests are seen between 1000 – 2000 m. between 1500 – 3000 m coniferous forests of temperate types are seen. Above 3600m alpine grasslands are seen. Himalayan ranges are an example of this.

    Tropical regions occupy one fourth of the total area of the world but have 75% of the total world population.


    National symbols:

    1. Bengal tigernational animal
    2. Indian peacock – national bird
    3. Ganges river dolphin – national aquatic animal
    4. Banyan tree – national tree
    5. Indian elephant – national heritage animal
    6. King cobra – national reptile

    Important animal and bird species:

    1. Rann of kachchh – wild ass
    2. Thar deserts – camels
    3. Gir forest, Gujarat – Asiatic lions
    4. Ladakh – Tibetan antelope, Bharal [blue sheep], yak, shaggy horned wild ox, kiang [Tibetan wild ass], snow leopard.
    5. Himalayan region – black necked crane
    6. Northeast – red panda.
    7. Nilgiri – Nilgiri tahr, lion tailed macaque
    8. Gulf of Mannar – dugong dugong [sea cow]
    9. Gujarat – great Indian bustard
    10. Arunachal Pradesh – Mithun


    • ·         Kaziranga sanctuary (Assam) – one-horned rhinoceros
    • ·         Manas sanctuary (Assam) – wild buffaloes
    • ·         Gir forest (Gujarat) – lions, chital, sambar, wild bears •
    • ·         Kelameru bird sanctuary (Andhra Pradesh) – pelicans and marine birds
    • ·         Dachigam sanctuary (Jammu and Kashmir) – Kashmir stags, Himalayan tahr, wild goats, sheep, antelopes.
    • ·          Bandipur sanctuary (Karnataka) – Indian bison, elephants, langurs
    • ·          Periyar sanctuary (Kerala) – elephants, barking deer, sambar
    • ·         Kanha national park (Madhya Pradesh) – tiger, leopards, wild dogs

    Extinct in India:

    Extinct in India – Asiatic cheetah, pink headed duck.



    Environmental legislation’s:

    1. Water [prevention and control of pollution] act, 1974:
    2. Regulatory authority was vested in state pollution control boards and a central board. The central board would act as a coordinator between state boards and enact policies. S.P.C.B’s could enact effluent standards for factories.
    3. S.P.C.B’s could grant or deny consent to discharge in factories.
    4. The S.P.C.B had the power to inspect factory premises and conduct analysis of samples. It could also cutoff water, electricity to a premise. Provision of citizen suit to was created.


    1. Water [prevention and control of pollution] Cess act, 1977:
    2. A cess shall be applicable on industries which discharge effluents. The act also gave a rebate of 70% to those industries which have effluent treatment plants. The cess amount would be used by government to implement water act, 1974 and give capital grants to C.P.C.B and S.P.C.B.


    1. Air [prevention and control of pollution] act, 1981:
    2. Implemented to control air pollution and improve quality of air.
    3. The S.P.C.B had the power to inspect factory premises and conduct analysis of samples. It could also cutoff water, electricity to a premise. Provision of citizen suit to was created.
    4. Powers of C.P.C.B/S.P.C.B were increased to include air and noise pollution.
    5. The industries operating within designated areas must obtain consent or permit from the S.P.C.B.
    6. The state governments were to prescribe emission standards for industries and vehicles after consulting C.P.C.B.


    1. Environment protection act, 1986
    2. Passed in response to the Bhopal gas tragedy for protecting human environment and preventing hazards to human health. It is an umbrella act that provides framework for other legislation’s and provides for coordination between central government and central and state authorities.
    3. Center can prescribe environment quality standards for emissions and effluents, regulate industrial locations, collect and dismantle environment pollution information, establish safeguards protecting environment and prescribe procedure to handle hazardous substances.
    4. Gives central government authority power to regulate water, electricity to an industry and power to inspect, examine industries.
    5. Citizens can file a suit alleging an offense under this act.


    1. Wildlife protection act, 1972
    2. Establishment of state wildlife boards, create Schedules I [endangered], II [special protection], III [big game], IV [small game], V [vermin] of animals to categorize them, establish sanctuaries and national parks, permit capture of wild animals for hunting, penalties for violations, regulate hunting.


    1. Forest conservation act, 1980
    2. Categorizes forests into reserved, village, protected and private. A state may declare a forestland or wasteland as a reserve forest and sell produce from it. Any unauthorized felling, quarrying, grazing is an offense. Reserved forests assigned to a village are village forests.
    3. State government can declare a forest as protected and prohibit any commercial exploitation there. Any diversion of forest land for non forest use needs approval of the center.


    1. Biodiversity act, 2002:
    1. National biodiversity authority at the center, state biodiversity boards and district biodiversity management committees to be setup.
    2. All foreign organizations and nationals need to obtain permission of the NBA before accessing biological resources or knowledge for use.
    3. All monetary benefits arising out of approvals granted by NBA are to be deposited in thenational biodiversity fund.
    4. Prior permission of state biodiversity boards needed before biological resources can be imported.
    5. NBA can impose terms to ensure equitable sharing of benefits. Before applying for any I.P.R abroad on basis of biological resource obtained from India, NBA approval is needed.
    6. NBA has the powers of a civil court.
    7. State government can declare national heritage sites after consulting local governments. Center can issue directives to states if it feels a naturally rich area is threatened by overuse, abuse, neglect.

    International legislation’s:

    Convention is a framework to be respected by all signatories by enacting national legislation’s. Protocol is an international agreement to support a convention that is linked to a convention but adds new commitments to it.

    1. CITES [convention on international trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna] is an international agreement between governments. It aims to ensure that international trade of wild animals and plants doesn’t threaten their survival.


    1. I.U.C.N [international union for conservation of nature and natural resources]:  it’s the world oldest and largest organization for conservation. HQ – Gland, Switzerland. Have recognized eight red list categories of plants and animals. These are extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, low risk, data deficient, not evaluated. The mandate of I.U.C.N includes help implement conservation laws, run field projects, support governments and authorities in policy making.


    1. Wetland convention [Ramsar]:
    2. UNESCO is the depository of this convention and the Ramsar Secretariat is at Gland, Switzerland. The objective of this convention is to halt loss of wetlands and conserve their flora, fauna.
    3. Designates internationally important wetlands.
    4. Promote training and research, judicious use of wetlands, coordination amongst nations for implementation.
    1. Montreal protocol
    2. To implement the Vienna convention on protection of ozone layer this protocol was implemented to reduce man made ozone depleting substances.
    3. The protocol ensures compliance by enforcing bans on hazardous ozone depleting substances, control on trade with non parties and technology transfer to developing countries.
    1. UN framework convention on climate change
    2. To control emission of greenhouse gases to ensure that the climate change isn’t drastic and natural habitat can adapt to the emissions without affecting food production.
    3. This convention was unveiled at the UN conference on environment and development [U.N.C.E.D] in Rio de Janiero, 1992 [earth summit].
    4. Under this convention the Kyoto protocol was drafted in 1997 to reduce global emissions of G.H.G’s to 5% less than the 1990’s levels by 2000. Kyoto protocol entered into force in 2005.

    Kyoto protocol:

    The developed countries are placed in Annex I and they have the heaviest responsibility of fighting climate change by reducing emissions. The countries of O.E.C.D and 12 transition nations were expected to reduce emissions compulsorily. These nations were also expected to give grants and loans and transfer technology to less advanced countries. The financial support is managed by Global Environment Facility.

    Developing countries like India, china were non annex countries with no binding targets.

    Annex- II a subgroup of annex-i countries which would provide funding to poor countries.

    Annex- A had the 6 G.H.G’s like CO2, Methane, CFC, Sulphur Hexafluoride, Perfluorocarbons, and Nitrous Oxide.

    Annex-B was the targets for annex-i countries.


    1. Convention of biological diversity [CBD]: this convention was signed in 1992 at the earth summit [UNCED]. The convention has three parts: conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biodiversity, equitable sharing of benefits that arise out of genetic resources.




    International bodies: 

    UN Environment Program [U.N.E.P]:

    It was created by the UN general assembly at the UN conference on human environment, Stockholm in 1972. It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Its main mandate is to coordinate development of environment policy for keeping global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and international community for action.

    The divisions of U.N.E.P are:

    1. Early warning and assessment
    2. Environment policy implementation
    3. Technology, industry, economics
    4. Regional cooperation
    5. Environment law and conventions
    6. Global environment facility
    7. Communication and public coordination

    Environment impact assessment:

    E.I.A is a tool that ensures that the project is environmentally sound and within the capacity of the ecosystem to assimilate and regenerate. It improves decision making by reducing the adverse impact of development projects.

    E.I.A has now become mandatory for 29 development projects with investment of Rs. 50 Crores or more under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

    Step 1: the environment appraisal committees are created for projects like nuclear, thermal, mining, industry, river valley, and infrastructure development. Once an application is received it is sent to E.A.C for approval or rejection recommendation. Once the recommendations are obtained the ministry of environment makes final decision in 90 days.

    Step 2: a post clearance monitoring is done to check adequacy of safeguards and make mid course corrections if needed.

    Chapter 6: AGRICULTURE


    Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for 55% of the population. The food grain production of 2014-15 is at 252 million tones slightly less than previous year due to the drought.  The schemes launched by the Dept. of Agriculture and Cooperation & Farmers Welfare are:

    Ministry of Agriculture   

    Krishnnonati Yojana  [ Umbrella Scheme]:  

    National food security mission [2007-8] launched to increase production of rice, wheat, pulses by 10, 8, 2 million tons resp. The mission is being continued into the 12th plan with a target of 10, 8, 4 for rice, wheat, pulses and 3 million tons increase in coarse cereals. Currently the program is being implemented with a share ratio of 50:50 between center and states in 623 districts of 28 states.

    National food security mission – commercial crops: To enhance the productivity of cotton, jute and sugarcane. Thrust is on transfer of technology and share ratio is 50:50.

    Mission for integrated development of horticulture: emphasis is on improving productivity, reduce post harvest losses, and improve quality of seeds and planting material. The current production of horticulture products is at 283 million tons [2014-15]

    National mission on oilseeds and oil palm: target is to increase production of vegetable oils from oil seeds, oil palm to 9.5 million tons by end of 12th plan. Strategy is increase seed replacement ratio, increase quality planting material, irrigation coverage, inter cropping with others and use of fallow and wastelands for cropping.

    National mission for sustainable agriculture: emphasis is to make agriculture more remunerative, sustainable, climate resilient and remunerative.


    Soil health card scheme:


    To be distributed to farmer’s at interval of three years so that they can test their fields and appropriately put fertilizers to their farms. 12 indicators shall be tested in every soil sample.


    Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana:

    Organic farming promotion scheme. Cluster of farmers shall be formed and motivated to do organic farming. 10000 clusters covering 5 lac acres are targeted. Certification and end to end marketing of produce shall be done.



    Mass media support to agriculture extension and focused publicity campaign:

    1.   Agro clinic and agro business centers: provides service and support to farmers for setting up of self employment ventures.

    1. Information dissemination through agriculture fairs.
    2. National e-governance plan in agriculture: timely providing information to farmers using I.C.T
    3. Kisan call centers: provide toll free information to farmers
    4. Farmers portal: to access all information on agricultural activities using a graphical interface
    5. M – kisan portal: to send S.M.S, I.V.R.S and U.S.S.D service to farmers by Agro – Scientists.
    6. DD Kisan: fully dedicated channel for farmers.
    7. National Agro – tech infra fund: to be used to promote a national market by creating an e-platform to be deployed on all state and UT’s wholesale markets.
    8. Price stabilization fund: to purchase Agro – horticulture products and reduce price fluctuations and protect farmers and consumers.


    PM krishi sinchai Yojana:

     Providing access to water for every farm by ensuring end to end irrigation supply chain by building distributing networks, farm gate applications.

                PM Krishi Sinchayi Yojana                       


                                                                            Fig 2: PMKSY

    National crop insurance programs:

    Provide financial support and stabilize farm income during adverse conditions when crops fail due to pests, disease, weather or natural calamities.

    Research and Development  Institutes

    Indian council of agriculture research [I.C.A.R]: Under the Dept. Of Agriculture Research, Ministry of Agriculture. It has one of the world’s largest network of institutes and is mandated with coordinating, managing R&D in agriculture.  New schemes launched by it are farmerFIRST [farmer, innovation, research, science and technology], student READY [rural entrepreneurship and awareness development Yojana], and A.R.Y.A [attracting and retaining youth in agriculture].

    Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries:

    Department of animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries: is another department under ministry of agriculture. It conducts livestock census every five years [1st in 1919]. India is the world’s leading producer of milk and the per capita availability is higher than the world. The department looks after promotion of dairy activities in non operation flood areas while the national dairy development board looks after operation flood areas. Schemes launched by it are:


    National program for bovine breeding and dairy development: N.P.B.B & D.D

    Focused on increasing artificial insemination by its network of M.A.I.T.R.I [Multipurpose Artificial Insemination Technician in Rural India] and N.P.D.D focused on creating the infrastructure for procurement, processing, marketing of milk and milk products.

    Fisheries Sector

    Fishery is a highly growing sector where India ranks second in world with 5.6% of global fish production. It is also second after china in aquaculture. The total output of fish is 10 million tons with 6.5 from inland and rest from marine. India has about 2200 species of fish i.e. 11% of global fish species. 65% of Indian fishes live in the sea, 3.3% in cold freshwater, 25% in warm freshwater and rest in estuaries. Ongoing schemes were brought under Blue Revolution – an umbrella referring to integrated and holistic development of fisheries and aquaculture.

    Chapter 7: EARTH


    Lithosphere is broken into many small plates. These plates move around due to the motion of magma inside the earth. This motion leads to plates moving a few millimeters each year. The movement of these plates causes changes on the surface of the earth. The earth movements are divided on the basis of the forces that cause them.

    1. Endogenic forces: acting in the interior of the earth. E.g. Earthquakes, landslides, building mountains, volcanoes.
    2. Exogenic forces: acting on the surface of the earth. E.g. Rivers, winds, glaciers, sea waves.

    Work of a river:

    A river erodes the landscape due to the running water. When a river tumbles over a very steep rock or down a river valley it forms a waterfall. As the river enters a plain it twists and turns to form large bends known as meanders. Due to endless deposition and erosion the ends of the meander loop come closer and closer and finally form an ox bow lake which is cutoff from the river. If the river overflows the banks it deposits fertile soil or other elements along its banks called sediments. This leads to formation of a flood plain.

    As the river closes to the sea its speed becomes slower and the sediments it carried are deposited. This leads to a breakup of the river into distributaries and each distributary forms a mouth. The collection of sediments from all mouths are called delta.

    Glaciers too carry sediments like rocks, sands which are deposited on the path, these are called glacial

    moraines. Even winds act as weathering agents, winds lifts and carries sands from one place to another. When the wind stops blowing the sands are deposited. Such sand deposits on large areas are called loess.

    Conditions favoring formation of Delta


    1. Active vertical and lateral erosion to provide sediments that shall be deposited at deltas.
    2. Preferrably sheltered and tideless coast.
    3. Sea adjoining delta should be shallow
    4. There should be no large rivers in the course to filter off the sediments.
    5. There should be no strong current flowing at right angles at the mouth of the river, washing away the sediments.


    Estuaries are better than deltas for formation of ports as deltas see deposition of large quantities of silts thus preventing large ships from setting up anchor near ports.



    Course of a river:

    1. Upper course / Mountain course [stage of youth]: V-shaped valleys, gorges or canyons are formed. Rapids, cataracts or waterfalls also occur mostly in this stage but can also occur in lesser numbers in the next stages also.
    2. Middle course / valley course [stage of maturity]:Interlocking spurs and meandering flow is seen. Also river cliffs and slip off slopes are common.
    3. Lower or plain course [stage of old age]:Flood plains are seen at this stage and banks of the river are raised due to deposits forming leeves. Delta and ox bow lakes are also seen.

    Land use patterns:

    Japan has 67% of its total land under forests, Canada has 52% of its land under developmental use, India has 56% of its area under cultivation and Australia has 56% of its area under pastures.


    Push factors

    Pull factors

    Over population


    Religious persecution

    More opportunities

    Slavery or bonded labor

    Better social amenities

    Lack of food

    Better lifestyle

    Racial discrimination

    Continuous trade and economic expansion

    Natural hazards / climate change

    Territorial expansion

    Fragmentation of family owned land



                                                                                      Table 1: Push and pull factors responsible for migration from villages to cities


    Solar System and Planets:

    1. Mercury: closest to the sun but no atmosphere.
    2. Venus: closest to the earth. Atmosphere has CO2 and poisonous gases.
    3. Mars: red planet or earth’s twin.
    4. Jupiter: largest planet but not with any solid surface
    5. Saturn: gaseous planet with a ring.
    6. Uranus: highly tilted rotation axis.
    7. Neptune: cold and dark surface. Smaller than earth.

    Four inner planets are rocky with less number of satellites and outer planets are gaseous with many satellites.


    Protected areas:     

    Biosphere reserves:


    It is a unique and representative ecosystem of terrestrial and aquatic areas. These are recognized under the UNESCO’s man and biodiversity program. There are currently 18 reserves out of which 10 are recognized by UNESCO’s world network of biosphere reserves viz. Nilgiri, Nandadevi, Sunderban, Nokrek, Similipal, Panchmarhi, Amarkantak, Agastyamala, Great Nicobar and Gulf of Mannar.

    The biosphere reserves have three areas:

    • Core: here no human activity is permitted. No entry is allowed except with permissions for special purposes only.
    •  Buffer: here greater variety of resource use strategies, research and educational activities are permitted.
    • Transition zone: it is an area of active cooperation between reserve management and local people. Here economic activities are permitted if they are in sync with conservation goals.


                                                                                                                                                              Fig 2: Biosphere reserves

    Fossil fuel formation:

    • Coal, oil, natural gas are the major fossil fuels in the world. Coal formation goes through the following stages:
    • Stage 1 [peat]: partially decayed plant matter in swamps. It has low heat content.
    • Stage 2 [lignite]: low cost, low sulphur and low heat content.
    • Stage 3 [bituminous]: Generally used as fuel due to high heat content.
    • Stage 4 [anthracite]: hard coal with low sulphur and high heat content.
    • Oil and gas are found along geologically young tectonic belt at plate boundaries where depositional basins are more likely to occur.


    Bio-fuel is obtained by converting biomass into alcohol to be used as fuel. Jatropha and Pongamia are plants that can be used to obtain bio-diesel.

    Ethanol obtained from sugarcane, sorghum can be used as a substitute for petrol.

    Chapter 8: PROTECTED AREAS



    Protected areas were formed after the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was passed. There are 4 protected areas: National parks, Wildlife sanctuaries, Community reserves and Conservation reserves. As of 2013 they covered 4.9% of India’s area.

    Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks:

    Both of these are declared by the state governments and central government under provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Wildlife sanctuaries are present in all states. Both these areas are of ecological significance. National parks enjoy higher degree of protection as certain activities like grazing which is regulated in sanctuaries isn’t permitted in national parks. Sanctuaries are formed for particular species but not national parks which may be for multiple species.

    Boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries shall be fixed by a notification. However no alterations can be made except on recommendation of the National Board of Wildlife.

    Residence within these areas shall be done by the permission of Chief Wildlife Warden. Restriction shall be imposed on entry of people in such areas. Administration of such areas is with CWW. National board of wildlife shall make recommendations on setting up and management of protected areas. State Wildlife Boards shall advice state governments on selection and administration of such areas.

    Community and Conservation reserves:

    They can be setup under Wildlife protection act, 1972 amendment. They want a flexible system without compromising the community needs. The first conservation reserve was in Tamil Nadu and was setup by state government on land adjacent to sanctuaries and national parks owned by it. This was conservation of landscape, seascape and habitat. Community reserves are setup in private land with consent of owners by notification of state government. The tradition,customs are protected and also habitat of flora and fauna. Management committees are setup in such reserves.

    Coastal Protection Areas:

    These are formed to protect and conserve marine ecosystems in pristine conditions. Marine protected areas are for conservation of mangroves, lagoons,corals, sea grass beds and estuaries. They belong to the following classes:

    1. Category I – National parks and sanctuaries
    2. Category II – Islands
    3. Category III – Beaches
    4. Category IV – Semi or evergreen forests.

    Biosphere Reserves

    UNESCO came with the functions and concept of Biosphere reserve. These are areas where community and environment can co-exist while respecting each others needs. Such sites are recognised under UNESCO’s Man and Biodiversity program. The scientific work carried out in BR’s is shared with the global community to share best practices on sustainable development. BR’s are maintained by State or UT’s with financial support of the Union. The difference between them and existing protected areas are the coverage of entire biodiversity and not just a species.

    Biodiversity Hotspots in India

    India has three biodiversity hotspots namely Eastern Himalayas, Western ghats and Indo Burma. The criteria for hotspots was framed by Norman Myers which is It must contain 1500+ species of vascular plants as endemic and it must have lost 70% of its original area.

    World Heritage Site

    Sites that are categorized in the UNESCO’s World heritage list formed after the Protection of Natural and Cultural heritage are World heritage sites. Sites can be of natural or cultural significance. They sites are designated if they meet any of the 10 criteria mentioned in the World Heritage Convention. India has 35 such sites [2016].



    Project Tiger

    It was launched for conservation of Indian Tiger whose population had reduced from 40000 in 1900 to a mere 1800 by 1972. It was a centrally sponsored scheme to protect the species and its habitat as a natural heritage for benefit of the people. It also aimed to harmonize the right of tribals in and around such areas.  Tiger reserves were notified for protection of tiger and its prey. A statutory body National Tiger Conservation Authority headed by PM would be setup to monitor these reserves. State government would notify such reserves on recommendation of this body.

    Tiger reserves would have a core and buffer area. Core area would remain inviolate for any human interference. The buffer areas would see co-existence of human activity and habitat protection. The NTCA and National board of Wildlife would recommend and approve the denotification or alteration of Tiger reserves after which the state governments could proceed.

    Functions of N.T.C.A:

    1. Approve tiger conservation plan of state governments.
    2. Disallow ecologically unsustainable activities in tiger reserves.
    3. Monitor tiger conservation activities, capacity building measures  and regulate tourism in core and buffer areas.
    4. Allow diversion of land for economic activities after approval of National board of Wildlife.

    Project Elephant

    It was launched as a central sponsored scheme in 1992 for protection of elephants and their habitat. States were given financial assistance in their efforts of conservation and capacity building of staff.Protection of elephant corridors, prevent man animal conflict, stop poaching , protect tamed elephants are objectives of this project.

    Elephant corridors are areas that connect habitats of elephant colonies. These are located in India everywhere except Western regions. North east has highest numbers but South India has least disturbed corridors. Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand have highest mineral wealth and elephant corridors which means high man animal conflict. Apart from mining ivory hunting is another serious problem. “Gajah” is the mascot of the movement.

    Project One Horned Rhino

    Assam forest department and Bodo council are implementing Indian rhino vision 2020 for increasing rhino population to 3000 by 2020 and to distribute them over 7 protected areas for conservation.

    Project Snow Leopard

    This was launched in 2009 for protection of snow leopard and its habitat from threats due to degradation. The participation of local communities and use of scientific methodology was seen as important. The high altitude ecosystem is unique with its diversity.

    Project Sea turtle

    Ministry of environment and forest and UNDP started this program currently implemented by Wildlife institute of India. Aim is conservation of egg hatching sites of olive ridley turtles in all 10 coastal states of India especially Orissa.

    Project Crocodile

    This project brought back the crocodiles from extinction onto a path of recovery. The gharial, salt water crocodile and mugger are focus of this scheme. Crocodile conservation and breeding center, Hyderabad is involved in this and one aim is to sensitize local populations for effective conservation.

    Project Hangal

    Kashmir stag or hangal is the state animal of J&K. The habitat destruction had brought this animal on brink of extinction but the State government with support of IUCN and WWF prepared a project for protection of these animals.

    Project Ganges River Dolphin

    The national aquatic animal of India was threatened due to fishing or poaching for oil. In addition to this building of barrages and dams are also separating the population. Various organizations including WWF-India are involved in its conservation and re-introduction.

    Note: Vultures are affected by consumption of diclofenac a drug which can’t be digested by them. This causes kidney failure and death. Vulture Safety zones were setup in India to provide diclofenac free carcass for vultures. In punjab and maharashtra, Vulture restaurants were setup for the same purpose.



    UN Framework Convention on Climate Change  

    This multilateral instrument on climate change was adopted at the 1992 Earth summit in Brazil also known as UN Conference on Environment and Development. All subsequent negotiations on climate change for both adaptation and mitigation were adopted on the framework created by UNFCCC. Due to inadequacies in the convention the Kyoto Protocol was framed that binds nations with targets and thus commits them to climate change. It was adopted in 1997 but came into effect in 2005.

    KP thus commits industrialized nations to binding targets as it recognizes them as important factors responsible for climate change due to the 150 year old process of industrialization. Its central principle was “Common but differentiated responsibilities”. Overall target was to have5% emission reduction compared to 1990 over a five year period from 2008-2012.

    KP Framework:

    Greenhouse gases like Carbon dioxide became a new commodity and developed countries were given binding emission reduction targets. Flexible market mechanisms were introduced to aid developed countries in meeting their targets. These allowed countries to buy credits from others who had met their targets and had exceeded them. KP market mechanisms were Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation and Emission Trading.

    Joint Implementation

    This allows a country under Annex – B i.e. developed country to launch an emission reduction project in another developed country and thus earn emission reduction units equivalent to 1 ton of CO2. Thus both the countries can jointly work to reduce emissions. The host country shall benefit from technology transfer and foreign investments and the country shall be able to meet its Kyoto commitment.

    Clean Development Mechanism

    The developed country with a binding target shall implement an emission reduction project in a developing country. The Certified emission reduction units earned through these shall be counted in its target achievement. Each CER shall be equivalent to 1 ton of CO2 emission.

    Carbon Trading

    Carbon trading occurred in two types i.e. emission trading and offset trading. The emission trading or “Cap and trade” mechanism allows a country to get credits for meeting its emission targets and exceeding them. It is based on the principle of Targets assigned to Developed countries under KP where they can emit only a fixed amount of emission or carbon equivalents. This carbon equivalent is earned if a country reduces emission. e.g. if a country has target of 100 tons CO2 emission which means it can emit 100 CO2 units so it can earn credits by emitting less CO2. The offset trading allows carbon saving projects to earn credits by using emission saving technology. Hence if a power plant emits 8 tons of carbon and limit is 4 tons then it needs 4 units of CER to meet its target. This it can do by saving emissions or investing in a emission free project like wind power plant. The credits earned from that can be used to meet its own commitment and if extra is earned then it can sell it in market.

    In the Bali summit held in 2007 it was proposed to include even developing countries like India and China, after 2012 when the KP ends, under compulsory targets as their emissions to were increasing. Due to no agreements on this as developed and developing countries were in discord this wasn’t enforced.

    Green Climate Fund

    This was setup in 2010 during the Conference of Parties 16th session in Cancun. COP is an annual summit of signatories of UNFCCC. The fund was to act as a financial mechanism of the UNFCCC. It would have a board that would administer it and a trustee for asset management. The GCF would finance programs and projects in developing countries related to adaptation and mitigation of climate change. The interim trustee of the GCF was World Bank. The 2% of the amount obtained from CER was transferred to the Adaptation fund of GCF to finance adaptation related activities in developing countries.

    Reducing Emissions from Deforestation’s and forest Degradation’s REDD and REDD+

    This is a global endeavor to incentivize developing countries to better manage, protect and save the forests to help in climate change. REDD+ goes beyond just forest conservation and incentivizes sustainable management of forests and increasing forest stocks. Thus countries that undertake initiatives for reducing emissions and sustainable management of forest resources can benefit from funds. Thus a country can be rewarded for increasing its forest cover and tree cover. The local community that participates in achieving this can benefit by obtaining more forest resources and also monetary benefits from funds received under REDD+.

    Global environment facility was created by World Bank in 1991 with support of UNDP and UNEP. The aim was to create a financial mechanism for funding of environment related projects as per the mandate of UNFCCC. This would be responsible to COP i.e. signatories of UNFCCC. The fund focuses on climate change mitigation projects.

    Inter Government Panel on Climate Change

    It was formed in 1988 by a UNGA resolution on a proposal made by WMO and UNEP. The WMO and UNEP then implemented the IPCC and it has its current headquarters in WMO, Geneva. The IPCC provides governments with scientific information on climate change. Though the IPCC doesn’t conduct research but it assesses the latest research on climate change by reviewing technical and scientific reports. The review process is aided by governments of all countries. These reports are then useful for understanding climate change impact on environment, economics and livelihood. Reports are thus policy neutral and yet important for policy making.

    National Green house gas inventory program: The guidance provided by this program is useful for estimating the quantity of emissions and removal of GHG’s by each country.      

    Graded response plan for Combating Air Pollution


    This was submitted by the Environment Pollution Control Authority, mandated by Supreme Court. The guidelines for the action plan laid down by this authority after consultation with all states are:


  • When the level of PM 2.5 reaches 100 microgram/cubic meter the measures to be taken are mechanised sweeping, water sprinkling along roads, smooth flow of traffic by the police, ban on firecrackers, PUC norms and stopping landfill fires has to be done.
  • If the pollution levels persist then the emergency will be declared and odd even rule shall be enforced, ban on construction activity and stopping trucks from entering city limits unless carrying essential items.

    The concentration of pollutants shall be monitored by SPCBs and IMD and communicated to EPCA. 16 agencies like the Urban Local Bodies, Government Departments etc have to work in coordination to ensure implementation.


    The EPCA action plan shall ensure that measures are taken effectively and no knee jerk response is there. However the existing rules have to be enforced strictly to ensure that pollution remains under control.


    EPCA was set up by the Ministry of Environment ,Forests, Climate Change under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 for the NCR [Delhi] region. It was reconstituted in 2016 due to SC orders.


    Animal Welfare Board of India

    The board is a statutory advisory body created under the Prevention of cruelty to animals act. Such a body was unique to the world. It was setup in 1962 to advice on animal welfare laws and policy making. HQ – Chennai. Board has 28 members with a three year term but can be renewed.

    Functions and Powers: 

    1. To advice central government on an amendments needed in the Prevention of cruelty to animals act.
    2. Advice center and state on rules to be made for animal welfare.
    3. Establish centers or provide grants to centers for rescue homes and animal shelters.
    4. Devise humane ways for slaughtering of animals by local authorities and slaughter houses.

    Central Zoo Authority

    Statutory body under Wildlife Protection Act to regulate and form standards for establishment and recognition of zoos and ensure welfare of animals in them.


    1. To set standards for upkeep of zoos and recognise and derecognize zoos.
    2. Assign endangered species to zoos for nurturing.
    3. To undertake training programs for zoo personnel, coordinate and research in captive breeding, provide technical and other assistance to zoos.
    4. To undertake other actions with regards to zoos as may be necessary under the act.

    National Biodiversity Authority

    Biodiversity Act, 2002 has created NBA and state biodiversity boards and biodiversity management committees. It is created to ensure fair and equitable benefits sharing that arise out of research on Indian biodiversity. Anyone seeking to obtain intellectual property rights to knowledge obtained out of research on biological resources has to obtain permission of NBA. NBA can impose conditions for approving grant of approvals. It also advices state governments to denote certain natural sites as heritage sites.

    State biodiversity boards grants approval for bio-survey or bio-utilization or commercialization of biological resource by Indians.At local level, Biodiversity management committees are created for conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biodiversity.

    Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

    Statutory body created under Wildlife protection act to complement the efforts of states to prevent illegal activities related to wildlife like smuggling, poaching.


    1. Collect, collate and disseminate intelligence and help form wildlife data bank.
    2. Coordinate enforcement activities of various agencies for implementing this act.
    3. Implementation of obligations under various international conventions and protocols.
    4. Assistance to foreign agencies for wildlife crime control, capacity building of officers and advice central and state governments on policies and laws.

    National Ganga river basin authority

    Constituted under Environment protection act in 2009 as a statutory body headed by the PM. The main functions are conservation and abatement of pollution of Ganga the national river. Chief ministers of a few states through which the river passes are also members. Authority has development and regulatory functions.

    Collection and dissemination of information, implement conservation of river basin, reduction of pollution by issuing directives are its main functions. The ministry in charge of this body is Water resources ministry.


    Agenda 21  

    The comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken at global, national and local levels. It was the outcome of the UN Convention on Environment and Development. The number 21 refers to the agenda for the 21st century. The local agenda 21 was the to be implemented at the local body level.

    Convention on biological diversity: CBD

    It is a legally binding convention for conservation of biodiversity. It also allows for sustainable use of resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits obtained out of genetic research.

    The Cartegena protocol on biosafety
    was to implement the CBD. It recognized the importance of protecting human health and environment from the adverse effects of biotechnology products. It has rules to ensure safe handling, transfer and use of living modified organisms arising out of biotechnology. Nagoya protocol on Fair and equitable sharing of benefits out of genetic research too was implemented to ensure achievement of one objective o CBD.

    The Aichi biodiversity targets [2011-2020] were proposed to reduce the damage to biodiversity at all levels and to contribute to benefit of all life on Earth. The Strategic goals where to address underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society; Reduce direct pressure on biodiversity and promote sustainable use; To safeguard all ecosystems; Enhance benefits to all from biodiversity.

    Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol

    The Vienna convention was created for protection of ozone layer from depletion. However it wasn’t a legally binding treaty with targets and so the Montreal protocol was framed. This protocol wanted to phase out all ozone depleting substances like chloro-flouro carbons etc from production and use.Countries were given financial incentives to chalk out and implement strategies to move towards newer eco-friendly technologies.

    Globally important agriculture heritage systems

    Food and agriculture organization of the UN recognizes GIAHS as regions having globally significant biodiversity and remarkable land use where a community has adapted its production processes of agriculture to suit the ecology of the regions. India has two such regions in Odissa and Kerela. In kerela the farmers are using a technique perfected over 150 years to grow rice and other crops in sea water.

    UN Convention to Combat desertification

    Signed in 1994 as a legally binding procedure for sustainable land use. The participation of local communities is encouraged here due to the bottom up approach. Desertification here means land degradation in dryland areas and not expansion of deserts. The aim of the convention is to combat desertification and in turn help in achieving Millenium development goals, sustainable development and poverty reduction.

    Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

    Initial material on Ramsar convention can be read here.

    It is an inter government treaty on conservation of wetlands. The main pillars of the convention are land use planning for proper  and sustainable use of wetlands, designate suitable sites on the Ramsar list and coordinate internationally for shared wetlands systems. India has 26 sites in the list [2012] and is actively involved in their conservation. Any threatened site is put under Montreaux record where a team is setup for advise on its conservation. India joined this convention in 1981.