1. Consider the following statements with reference to the Keystone Species: 1. No other species would be able to fill its ecological niche if they disappear from the ecosystem. 2. They are always the largest or most abundant species in an ecosystem. Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only (b) 2 only (c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2 Answer: a Explanation: A keystone species is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. Keystone species have low functional redundancy. This means that if the species were to disappear from the ecosystem, no other species would be able to fill its ecological niche. The ecosystem would be forced to radically change, allowing new and possibly invasive species to populate the habitat. So, statement 1 is correct. Any organism, from plants to fungi, may be a keystone species; they are not always the largest or most abundant species in an ecosystem. However, almost all examples of keystone species are animals that have a huge influence on food webs. The way these animals influence food webs varies from habitat to habitat. So, statement 2 is not correct. A keystone species is often, but not always, a predator. Just a few predators can control the distribution and population of large numbers of prey species. Therefore, the correct answer is a. 2. Which of the following statements are correct about the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) of India? 1. It was constituted under the statute of Disaster Management Act, 2005. 2. It handles both natural and man-made disasters in the country. 3. It is functioning under the Ministry of Defence in extraordinary circumstances. Select the correct answer using the code given below: a. 3 only b. 1 and 2 only c. 1 and 3 only d. 2 and 3 only
Answer: b Explanation: The mid-nineties and the subsequent decade saw much international debate & discussion around Disaster Response & Preparedness. Some of the notable and more impactful ones were the Yokohama Strategy Plan (1994) & the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005), adopted by the UN. During the same period, India faced some of its most severe natural calamities like Orissa Super Cyclone (1999), Gujarat Earthquake (2001) and Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004). This succession of events and the International environment brought to fore, the need for a comprehensive disaster management plan. This led to the enactment of the Disaster Management Act on December 26th, 2005. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was constituted to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management. So, statement 1 is correct. The Disaster Management Act has statutory provisions for the constitution of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for a specialized response to natural and man-made disasters. Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted with 8 Battalions. In 2008, NDRF was made a dedicated force for disaster response related duties, under the unified command of DG NDRF. At present, NDRF has a strength of 12 Battalions with each Battalion consisting of 1149 personnel. In the beginning, the personnel of NDRF were deployed for routine law and order duties also. So, statement 2 is correct. The Chairman of the NDMA is the Prime Minister. The responsibility of managing disasters in India is that of the State Government. The ‘Nodal Ministry’ in the central government for the management of natural disasters is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). So, statement 3 is not correct. Therefore, the correct answer is b. 3. Consider the following statements about World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR): 1. Biosphere Reserves are designated by the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO. 2. Once declared, Biosphere Reserves remain under the sole sovereignty of the UNESCO. Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only (b) 2 only (c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2 Answer: a Explanation: Within UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, biosphere reserves are established to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere. Biosphere reserves are designated by the International Co-ordinating Council of the MAB Programme, at the request of the State concerned. So, statement 1 is correct. Biosphere reserves, each of which remains under the sole sovereignty of the State where it is situated and thereby submitted to State legislation only, form a World Network in which participation by the States is voluntary. So, statement 2 is not correct. Therefore, the correct answer is a. 4. Which of the following statements in the context of the geographical setting of Israel is/are correct? 1. Its international borders with Egypt and Jordan have been formally recognized. 2. Sea of Galilee in north-eastern Israel is a saltwater lake. 3. The Dead Sea is bordered by Jordon to the east and Israel to the west. Choose the correct option using the codes below: a. 1 only b. 2 and 3 only c. 1 and 3 only d. 3 only Answer: c Explanation: Israel's borders with Egypt and Jordan have now been formally recognized and confirmed as part of the peace treaties with those countries. The borders with Syria (Golan Heights), Lebanon and the Palestinian territories (declared as the State of Palestine) are still in dispute. So, statement 1 is correct. Sea of Galilee in north-eastern Israel is a freshwater lake. It is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. So, statement 2 is not correct. The Dead Sea is a Salt Lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. So, statement 3 is correct. Therefore, the correct answer is c. 5. With reference to the Mediterranean climate, consider the following statements: 1. It has warm summers and short, mild, rainy winters. 2. Shifting of wind belts is the main characteristic of this climate. 3. It is found on the west coasts of continents between 30° and 40° latitude. Which of the statements given above are correct? (a) 1 and 2 only (b) 2 and 3 only (c) 1 and 3 only (d) 1, 2 and 3 Answer: d Explanation: Mediterranean climates have warm summers and short, mild, rainy winters. Mediterranean climates are found on the west coasts of continents between 30° and 40° latitude , and along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean summers feature clear skies, cool nights, and little rain. So, statements 1 and 2 are correct. Shifting of wind belts is the main characteristic of the Mediterranean climate. In summer when the sun is overhead at the Tropic of Cancer, the belt of influence of the Westerlies is shifted a little pole wards. Rain bearing winds are therefore not likely to reach the Mediterranean lands. The prevailing Trade Winds [tropical easterlies] are off-shore and there is practically no rain. The Mediterranean lands receive most of their precipitation in winter when the Westerlies shift equator wards. In the northern hemisphere, the prevailing on-shore Westerlies bring much cyclonic rain from the Atlantic (Typical to Mediterranean Climate). The rain comes in heavy showers and only on a few days with bright sunny periods between them. This is another characteristic feature of the Mediterranean winter rain. Though the downpours are infrequent they are often very torrential and in mountainous districts, destructive floods occur. So, statement 3 is correct. Though the area around the Mediterranean Sea has the greatest extent of this type of winter rain climate, and gives rise to the more popular name Mediterranean climate, the best-developed form of this particular climate is found in central Chile. Therefore, the correct answer is d.