Environment is a critical and high scoring subject under the UPSC prelims, but is also the most ignored. In this article, we will discuss what you need to focus on under this topic, as well as the best environment books for IAS preparation.

Your prelims paper is categorized into two parts – the General Studies Paper I, and the General Studies Paper II.

Under the General Studies Paper I, the topics include current affairs, history, environment, geography, general science and polity.

The General Studies Paper II consists of comprehension, aptitude and the like.

Since 2011, the number of questions asked under this section has significantly increased. Although the questions asked under environment does not need much subject specialization, you must still be well-prepared and aware of the basics and current issues related to the same.

Let us see the breakdown of environment from the prelims perspective:

  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography

These subjects are interdisciplinary in nature. This means that a question asked under one section can technically belong to the other discipline, as the subjects are interdependent. Therefore, understanding of all the three is important to gain a well-rounded knowledge of the environment as a whole.

Now, the prelims syllabus clearly puts the syllabus down as follows:-

  • Environmental Ecology
  • Climate Change
  • Biodiversity

Let us now explore the best books to study for this crucial subject: –

  1. The NCERT Textbooks

    As with a majority of subjects, the NCERT textbooks are your go-to reference guide to understand the basics of any subject. The language used in these books is simple with the right amount of technical jargon that will introduce you to the foundational terminology of the subject.

    For Environment, you must essentially read the following ncert books.
    • Class VI To Class XI – Ncert Geography
    • Class VII And Class X – Ncert Science
    • Class XII – Ncert Chemistry
    • Class XII – Ncert Biology
  2. Environment and Ecology – Arihant

    The book offers 11 Chapters with comprehensive coverage in clear points and para format, along with proper usage of charts and tables for better knowledge. It also includes terminologies and practice tests at the end.
  3. Environmental Ecology Biodiversity & Climate Change – Pratiyogita Darpan

    A good book to understand climate change, biodiversity, conservation of natural resources and future forms of energy. The multiple objective exercises in this book is a great revision method as well.
  4. Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure- R. Rajagopalan

    A highly recommended book for UPSC’s environment subject. This book covers the important topics of overexploitation of natural resources, global warming, deforestation, degraded land, pollution,increasing population, toxins released into the environment, etc.

    The best feature of this book is their effectiveness in presenting current issues, solutions, precautions, and major discussions on the topics. You will also find related illustrations and photographs in this book.
  5. Textbook of Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses – Erach Bharucha

    Another great book for UPSC aspirants. This book shows major environmental concepts in a concise manner. The book attempts to clarify all the important concepts in Arts, Science, Engineering and Commerce pertaining to the environment.
  6. Environmental Studies – Benny Joseph

    This is a great book for every aspirant irrespective of their subject specialization either at the school or college level. Since the book is written from the undergraduate perspective, the topics covered is extensive and the language is easy to comprehend.
  7. Ecology and environment by P. D. Sharma

    This is a popular choice with UPSC aspirants. This textbook is excellent for environment and ecology, and contains strong foundational chapters for detailed understanding of the topic.
  8. Objective Environmental Sciences – B. B. Singh

    This book contains objective questions covering major aspects of environment. This is a great book for revision of what all you’ve studied.
  9. Magazines

    Besides the above mentioned reference textbooks, you must also refer to the Science Reporter and the Down To Earth magazine. These magazines specifically cover facts, news and crucial events related to the environment and its changes.
  10. The Newspaper

    As with the preparation of any other subject, Environment too demands regular reading of The Hindu to keep abreast with all current issues dealing with the topic. The Hindu is also a great medium to garner different opinions regarding an ongoing environmental issue.
  11. The Official Website Of The Environment Ministry

    The Environment Ministry is responsible for all the laws, practices, problem identification and rectification regarding environment in India. You must make it a habit to scan their official website thoroughly to check for important updates and credible newsworthy information like annual reports as well as the government’s stand on international and national environmental issues.

These environment books for IAS preparation are sure to help you learn significant environment and ecology facts for your examinations. Our experts suggest a combination of NCERT, one reference book, one magazine for revision, and daily reading of the hindu.

Good luck!

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Greeta Sulochana

Greeta Sulochana is a content evangelist with a flair for compelling creative writing. She has penned down her thoughts in poetry and prose since the past five years, and has catered her skills to the Indian and international audiences. She started out as an advertising intern with Grey worldwide, and is now a full-fledged writer in passion and profession, who has worked for major national brands.

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