Environment India – Basics

BASIC Environment – India                                                                                                                                                rajras.in

Environment has become an important issue in our present times for multiple reasons. Climate change is no more a theoretical topic and its effect are felt by us all. Consequently, in each competitive examination especially exams by UPSC like civil services, this has become an utmost important topic. In other, examinations as well like RAS/UPPSC and other PSC’s basic knowledge is quintessential. Topic is so vast that it cannot be covered in one-post but our aim and hope, behind the post is simple, to provide you with information so that you don’t miss-out any basic or tricky question.

India- Important Organizations working in Environment field:

  • Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)
    • Head Quarter: Kolkata
    • Comes under MOEFCC (ministry of environment, forest and climate change)
    • Deals with Animal taxonomy, publishes Red Data Book on Indian Animals.
  • Botanical Survey of India:
    • HQ: Kolkata
    • Plants kingdom taken care by Botanical Survey of India
    • Comes under MOEFCC
  • Forest Survey of India:
    • HQ: Dehradun
    • Comes under MOEFCC
    • Mandate is to conduct survey and assessment of forest resources in the country
    • Brings out state of forest report. (Latest 2015)
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority
    • Established December 2015, under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972
    • Hence, statutory body under MOEFCC
    • Establishes normative standards, guidelines for tiger conservation in the Tiger Reserves, apart from National Parks and Sanctuaries.
    • Prepares an Annual Report, which is laid in the Parliament along with the Audit Report.
    • Responsible for Project Tiger.
  • Wildlife Institute of India (WII)
    • Autonomous Institute under MOEFCC
    • HQ: Chandrabani, Dehradun
    • Carries out wildlife research in areas of study like Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Wildlife Policy, Wildlife Management, Eco-development, Habitat Ecology and Climate Change.
  • National Green Tribunal
    • Independent Organization, established in 2010 under National Green Tribunal Act.
    • Draws inspiration from Article 21 of Indian Constitution
    • Chairman: Justice Swatanter Kumar
    • Principal Bench: New Delhi with circuit benches at Chennai, Bhopal, Pune and Kolkata


  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
  • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
  • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;
  • The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

India: Forest Cover Snapshot

  • Total Area: 32,87,263 Sq. KM
  • Forest Cover: 21.34%  (7,01,673 Sq. Km)
  • Tree Cover: 2.82% (92,572 Sq. Km)
  • Hence, Forest Cover+ Tree Cover = 24.16 %
  • Note: All lands more than 1 hectare in area and with a Canopy density of more than 10% are called Forest Cover and if less than 1 hectare called as Tree cover.

Division of Forest Cover:

  • Terms:
    • The degraded forest, which have a Canopy density of less than 10% are called Scrubs.
    • The Lands with Canopy density of 10-40% are called Open Forests.
    • The Land with forest cover having a canopy density of 40-70% are called the Moderately Dense Forest (MDF)
    • The Lands with forest cover having a canopy density of 70% and more are called Very Dense Forests (VDF).
  • Forest Division

 Division of Forest on basis of Administration:

  • Reserved Forest: 53%
    • Reserved forests are under the direct supervision of the government and no public entry is allowed for collection of timber or grazing of cattle.Forest
  • Protected Forest – 29%
    • Protected Forest are looked after by the government, but the local people are allowed to collect fuel-wood/timber and graze their cattle
  • Unclassified Forest – 18%
    • Those Forest in which there is no restriction on the cutting of trees and grazing of cattle.


Division of Natural vegetation in India:
Forest Types

Source: Mapsofindia
Source: Mapsofindia

State of Forest Report 2015:

  • Area Wise Largest Forest Cover

    1. Madhya Pradesh
    2. Arunachal Pradesh
    3. Chattisgarh
    4. Maharashtra
    5. Odisha

  • Percentage Wise Largest forest Cover

    1. Mizoram (88.93%)
    2. Lakshadweep (84.56%)
    3. A&N islands
    4. Arunachal Pradesh
    5. Nagaland
  • Forest Cover Variation with Altitude(Height):
    Forest with height
  • Mangrove Forest

    1. West Bengal
    2. Gujarat
    3. Andaman & Nicobar Island
    4. Andhra Pradesh
    5. Odisha



  • Tiger reserves are administered under Project Tiger, governed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • In addition to existing reserves,  in-principle approval has been accorded by the NTCA for the creation of four new tiger reserves, in sites at: Ratapani Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh), Guru Ghasidas (Chhattisgarh) and Sunabeda Tiger Reserve (Odisha).
  • Project Tiger – started in 1973.

Tiger Reserve



Source: Mapsofindia
Source: Mapsofindia



  • What are Wetlands?
  • “Lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water”.
  • What is Ramsar Convention?
  • The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • India 26 Sites under Ramsar Convention.
  • Montreux Record
  • Montreux Record  is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
  • Presently, Keoladeao NP (Rajasthan) & Loktak lake (Manipur) are part of Montreux Record Sites from India.
  • World Wetland Day: 2nd Feb 
    S. NoSite NameState
    1Ashtamudi WetlandKerala
    2Bhitarkanika MangrovesOrissa
    3Bhoj WetlandMadhya Pradesh
    4Chandra TaalHimachal Pradesh
    5Chilika LakeOrissa
    6Deepor BeelAssam
    7East Calcutta WetlandsWest Bengal
    8Harike WetlandPunjab
    9Hokera WetlandJammu and Kashmir
    10Kanjli WetlandPunjab
    11Keoladeo National ParkRajasthan
    12Kolleru LakeAndhra Pradesh
    13Loktak LakeManipur
    14Nalsarovar Bird SanctuaryGujarat
    15Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
    16Pong Dam LakeHimachal Pradesh
    17Renuka LakeHimachal Pradesh
    19Rudrasagar LakeTripura
    20Sambhar LakeRajasthan
    21Sasthamkotta LakeKerala
    22Surinsar-Mansar LakesJammu and Kashmir
    23TsomoririJammu and Kashmir
    24Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)Uttar Pradesh
    25Vembanad-Kol WetlandKerala
    26Wular LakeJammu and Kashmir




  • Indian government has established 18 Biosphere Reserves in India
  • 10 of the 18 are part of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program
  • MAB initiated in 1971
  • S. NoName of Biosphere Reserve (MAB)States
    1Nilgiri Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu,ÊKerala,ÊKarnataka
    2Gulf of Mannar Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu
    3Sundarbans Biosphere ReserveWest Bengal
    4Nanda Devi Biosphere ReserveUttarakhand
    5Nokrek Biosphere ReserveMeghalaya
    6Pachmarhi Biosphere ReserveMadhya Pradesh
    7Simlipal Biosphere ReserveOdisha
    8Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere ReserveChhattisgarh,ÊMadhya Pradesh
    9Great NicobarAndaman and Nicobar Islands
    10Agasthyamala Biosphere ReserveKeralaÊandÊTamil Nadu


Natural Heritage Sites:

  • UNESCO also declares World Heritage Sites – in two categories – Culture & Natural
  • Cultural Heritage Site include:
    • Kaziranga National Park – Assam
    • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary – Assam
    • Keoladeo National Park – Rajasthan
    • Sunderbans National Park – West Bengal
    • Nanda Devi & Valley of Flowers – Uttarakhand
    • Western Ghats – 39 Sites – 20 of Kerala, 10 in Karnataka, 5 in Tamil Nadu and 4 in Maharashtra
    • Great Himalayan National Park – Himachal Pradesh
    • Khangchendzonga National Park -2016 Addition – Sikkim


  • What are Bio-diversity hotspots?
  • British biologist Norman Myers coined the term “biodiversity hotspot” in 1988.
  • Conservation International (CI) adopted it.
  • Hot spots are the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life of the earth. They have maximum number of endemic species ( Original Species belonging to that ecosystem).
  • What are criteria for qualification to world biodiversity hotspot?
  • There are two Criteria’s:
    1. Species endemism: the region must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants (> 0.5% of the world’s total) as endemics, andBiodiversity hotspot
    2. Degree of threat: the region has to have lost at least 70% of its original habitat.
  • Bio-diversity hotspots in India:
  • India has part of 4 Major.
    • Himalaya
    • Indo-Burma
    • Western Ghats & Srilanka
    • Nicobar

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