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MEV-011: Fundamentals of Environmental Science and Ecology

MEV-011: Fundamentals of Environmental Science and Ecology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for MEV-011 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Fundamentals of Environmental Science and Ecology, you have come to the right place. MEV-011 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in MSCENV, MAEVS, PGDEML, PGDEVS courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MEV-011/TMA-01/January 2023 to July 2024 session

Course Code: MEV-011

Assignment Name: Fundamentals of Environmental Science and Ecology

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Q1) Give Definition, principles and scope of Environmental Science?

Ans) Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary field that examines the interactions between the physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment, as well as the societal, economic, and political factors that affect it. It seeks to understand and address environmental challenges and promote sustainable practices to protect the planet.


a) Interdisciplinarity: Environmental science draws from various scientific disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and sociology, to comprehensively study complex environmental issues.

b) Holistic Approach: It takes a holistic approach to understanding ecosystems, recognizing that all elements within an environment are interconnected and that changes in one component can have far-reaching consequences.

c) Sustainability: Environmental science promotes the responsible use of natural resources to ensure they are available for current and future generations. It emphasizes sustainable practices that minimize environmental impacts.

d) Precautionary Principle: This principal advocate taking preventive action in the face of environmental risks, even in the absence of scientific consensus, to protect the environment and public health.

e) Polluter Pays Principle: This principle holds that those responsible for environmental damage should bear the costs of mitigation and restoration, promoting accountability.

f) Environmental Ethics: Environmental science considers ethical values and responsibilities toward the environment and all living organisms, seeking to balance human needs with ecological preservation.


The scope of environmental science is vast, encompassing a wide range of subjects and concerns.

a) Climate Change: Investigating the causes and consequences of global warming and developing strategies to mitigate its effects.

b) Biodiversity and Conservation: Studying ecosystems, species diversity, and the preservation of endangered species to maintain ecological balance.

c) Pollution Control: Analysing sources of pollution (air, water, soil) and developing methods to reduce or prevent contamination.

d) Natural Resource Management: Assessing the sustainable use of resources like water, forests, and minerals to meet current and future demands.

e) Waste Management: Exploring ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste materials, as well as the safe disposal of hazardous waste.

f) Environmental Policy and Governance: Evaluating laws, regulations, and international agreements related to the environment and advocating for effective policies.

g) Human Population Growth: Investigating the impact of population growth on resources, land use, and sustainability.

h) Environmental Education and Advocacy: Promoting public awareness and engagement in environmental issues.

Q2) Describe various environmental issues at global, regional and local levels.

Ans) Environmental issues manifest at various levels, with global, regional, and local dimensions. These issues pose significant challenges to the well-being of both the planet and its inhabitants:

Global Environmental Issues:

a) Climate Change: One of the most pressing global issues, climate change is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, primarily due to human activities. It leads to rising temperatures, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and disruptions to ecosystems.

b) Loss of Biodiversity: Global biodiversity is diminishing rapidly due to habitat destruction, pollution, and overexploitation. This loss threatens ecosystems, food security, and human well-being.

c) Ozone Depletion: The depletion of the ozone layer, caused by ozone-depleting substances, results in increased exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, impacting human health and ecosystems.

d) Ocean Acidification: The absorption of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide by oceans leads to ocean acidification, harming marine life, particularly organisms with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.

e) Deforestation: Widespread deforestation contributes to habitat loss, reduced carbon sequestration, and the loss of biodiversity.

Regional Environmental Issues:

a) Water Scarcity: Many regions face water scarcity due to over-extraction, pollution, and inefficient water management. This can lead to conflicts and threaten agriculture and access to clean drinking water.

b) Air Pollution: Regional air pollution, often associated with industrial and vehicular emissions, can cause health problems and environmental degradation in affected areas.

c) Land Degradation: Soil erosion, desertification, and degradation of arable land are regional concerns, undermining agricultural productivity and food security.

d) Wildlife Conservation: The protection of specific regional species and habitats is crucial, with some regions facing particular challenges related to endangered wildlife.

Local Environmental Issues:

a) Urban Pollution: Urban areas contend with pollution from industries, transportation, and waste, impacting air and water quality.

b) Waste Management: Local waste management problems include inadequate disposal facilities, recycling, and hazardous waste handling.

c) Noise Pollution: Urban and industrial areas can suffer from excessive noise pollution, impacting human health and well-being.

d) Local Resource Depletion: Overfishing, over-extraction of groundwater, and local resource depletion can threaten ecosystems and the livelihoods of communities.

e) Contamination: Local areas may experience contamination from industrial or agricultural chemicals, affecting soil and water quality.

Q3) Define ecology and describe various environmental factors with suitable examples.

Ans) Ecology is the scientific study of the relationships between living organisms and their physical, chemical, and biological environments. It seeks to understand the interactions and interdependencies between organisms and their surroundings, including how they adapt to and influence their environments. Ecology plays a vital role in addressing environmental challenges and conserving ecosystems.

Abiotic Factors:

a) Temperature: Temperature affects the metabolic rates and behaviour of organisms. For example, cold-blooded animals, like reptiles, become more active in warmer temperatures.

b) Light: The amount of sunlight influences the distribution of plant species. In a dense forest, plants on the forest floor adapt to low light conditions.

c) Water: Availability of water is critical for all life forms. Deserts have adapted plant species like cacti, which store water.

Biotic Factors:

a) Predation: The presence of predators, such as lions in savannas, affects the behaviour and distribution of prey species like zebras.

b) Competition: Competition for limited resources, like food or nesting sites, can lead to niche differentiation. For example, different bird species may occupy different levels of a forest canopy.

c) Symbiosis: Symbiotic relationships, like mutualism between bees and flowers, demonstrate how species can evolve interdependent ecological roles.

Nutrient Cycles:

a) Carbon Cycle: The exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and living organisms, such as plants through photosynthesis and animals through respiration.

b) Nitrogen Cycle: Nitrogen fixation by bacteria, conversion to nitrates, and its utilization by plants illustrate the importance of nitrogen in ecosystems.

c) Water Cycle: Precipitation, evaporation, and transpiration affect the movement of water in ecosystems.

Ecosystems and Habitats:

a) Freshwater Ecosystems: Lakes, rivers, and wetlands are examples of freshwater ecosystems, each with distinct flora and fauna adapted to specific conditions.

b) Terrestrial Ecosystems: Forests, grasslands, and deserts represent terrestrial ecosystems, with unique species adapted to these habitats.

c) Marine Ecosystems: Oceans, coral reefs, and estuaries comprise marine ecosystems, characterized by diverse marine life.


a) Primary Succession: After a volcanic eruption, the colonization of barren land by pioneer species, such as lichens and mosses, initiates primary succession.

b) Secondary Succession: After a forest fire, secondary succession begins with the growth of grasses and shrubs, followed by the reestablishment of trees.

Q4) Write short notes on any two of the followings.

a. Ecological Succession.

Ans) Ecological succession is a fundamental concept in ecology that describes the sequential and predictable changes in the composition and structure of an ecosystem over time. It is the process by which ecosystems gradually transition from one state to another, typically in response to environmental disturbances or changes.

There are two primary types of ecological succession: primary and secondary.

Primary Succession: This occurs in entirely new or barren environments where no soil or living organisms exist, such as after a volcanic eruption or on bare rock. The process begins with pioneer species like lichens and mosses, which can colonize and help break down the substrate. Over time, more complex plant and animal communities establish, leading to the development of a stable ecosystem. Primary succession can take centuries or even millennia to reach a climax community, depending on the environmental conditions.

Secondary Succession: This type of succession occurs in ecosystems that have been disturbed but still retain some soil and seeds. Common examples include forest regrowth after a fire or abandoned agricultural land. Secondary succession typically progresses faster than primary succession since the soil and a seed bank are already present. Weeds and grasses are often the first to colonize, followed by shrubs and eventually trees. Secondary succession can eventually lead to a stable, climax community.

Q4. b. Population Growth

Ans) Population growth refers to the increase in the number of individuals within a given human population over time. It is a fundamental demographic measure that has far-reaching implications for societies, economies, and the environment.

Factors Influencing Population Growth:

a) Birth Rate: The number of live births per 1,000 people in a given year. A high birth rate contributes to population growth.

b) Death Rate: The number of deaths per 1,000 people in a given year. A low death rate can contribute to population growth.

c) Immigration and Emigration: The movement of people into and out of a region or country can impact population growth. Net migration can be either positive or negative.

Impacts of Population Growth:

a) Economic Effects: Population growth can have positive economic effects, such as a larger workforce and consumer base. However, it can also strain resources, leading to unemployment and economic challenges.

b) Environmental Impact: A rapidly growing population can strain natural resources, lead to deforestation, habitat loss, and overuse of water resources, contributing to environmental degradation.

c) Social and Healthcare Challenges: High population growth can strain healthcare systems, education facilities, and social services, leading to challenges in providing adequate infrastructure and services.

d) Food Security: Feeding a growing population is a significant concern, as it requires increased agricultural productivity and sustainable food production.

e) Urbanization: Population growth often leads to increased urbanization as people migrate to cities in search of better opportunities, affecting infrastructure, housing, and transportation.

f) Aging Population: In some regions, population growth is slowing, leading to concerns about an aging population with implications for healthcare and pension systems.

Q5) Explain the structure and function of Ecosystem with suitable examples.

Ans) An ecosystem is a complex, interconnected system composed of living organisms and their physical environment, including abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) components. Ecosystems can vary widely, from a small pond to a vast rainforest. The structure and function of an ecosystem are interrelated and critical to its sustainability.

Abiotic Components:

a) Climate: The long-term weather patterns and conditions in an ecosystem, including temperature, rainfall, and humidity. For example, a desert ecosystem has a hot, arid climate.

b) Soil: The type, quality, and composition of soil affect plant growth and nutrient availability. In a rainforest, the fertile, well-drained soil supports lush vegetation.

c) Water: The presence of water bodies like rivers, lakes, and oceans can shape ecosystems. Coral reefs thrive in marine ecosystems with clear, warm water.

Biotic Components:

a) Producers: These are autotrophic organisms, mainly plants, which convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. Examples include grasses in a grassland ecosystem.

b) Consumers: Heterotrophic organisms, such as herbivores (e.g., deer) and carnivores (e.g., lions), feed on other organisms.

c) Decomposers: Organisms like fungi and bacteria break down dead organic matter, recycling nutrients back into the ecosystem.

d) Predator-Prey Relationships: These interactions are crucial for maintaining the balance of an ecosystem. For instance, the relationship between wolves (predators) and deer (prey) affects both populations.

Trophic Levels:

a) Primary Consumers: Herbivores that consume producers for energy.

b) Secondary Consumers: Carnivores that feed on primary consumers.

c) Tertiary Consumers: Predators that feed on secondary consumers.

d) Detritivores: Organisms that consume detritus (decomposing matter) at the bottom of the food chain.

Energy Flow:

a) Energy flows through trophic levels, with each level utilizing and passing on only a fraction of the energy it consumes. This flow is unidirectional, as energy is eventually lost as heat.

b) For example, in a forest ecosystem, solar energy is captured by plants (producers), which is then consumed by herbivores (primary consumers), followed by carnivores (secondary consumers).

Nutrient Cycling:

a) Nutrients like carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus are essential for life and are cycled through the ecosystem. Decomposers play a crucial role in breaking down organic matter and returning nutrients to the soil.

b) For instance, in a wetland ecosystem, decomposers break down dead plants, releasing nutrients that support the growth of new vegetation.


a) Ecosystems change over time through a process called ecological succession. Primary succession occurs in a previously barren area, while secondary succession takes place in an area with a history of disturbance.

b) A volcanic island ecosystem may undergo primary succession, starting with the colonization of lichens and mosses.

Q6) Explain the need, purpose and approaches to restoration ecology.

Ans) Restoration ecology is a multidisciplinary field that focuses on restoring ecosystems that have been damaged, degraded, or destroyed. It recognizes the vital role of healthy ecosystems in providing essential services, such as clean water, air, biodiversity, and climate regulation. The need, purpose, and approaches to restoration ecology are as follows:

Need for Restoration Ecology:

a) Biodiversity Conservation: Many ecosystems are critical habitats for a wide range of plant and animal species. Restoring these ecosystems is essential to prevent further species loss.

b) Ecological Function: Ecosystems provide essential services, including pollination, water purification, and nutrient cycling. The loss of these functions can have severe consequences for human well-being.

c) Sustainability: Restoring ecosystems can improve resource availability and support sustainable agriculture and resource management.

d) Rehabilitating Degraded Areas: Areas affected by pollution, deforestation, or industrial activities can be restored to their former ecological health.

Purpose of Restoration Ecology:

a) Enhance Ecosystem Health: The primary purpose is to restore the ecological integrity of ecosystems, ensuring they function properly and are resilient to change.

b) Rebuild Biodiversity: Restoration aims to reestablish native species and increase the diversity of organisms within ecosystems.

c) Reconnect Habitats: Creating wildlife corridors and reconnecting fragmented habitats can help species move, mate, and adapt to changing conditions.

d) Reestablish Ecological Processes: Restoration seeks to reintroduce natural processes like fire regimes, flooding, and nutrient cycling.

Approaches to Restoration Ecology:

a) Passive Restoration: Involves minimal human intervention, allowing nature to take its course. It is often used in areas where natural recovery is feasible, such as after a wildfire.

b) Active Restoration: This approach involves human intervention to accelerate the recovery of ecosystems. It includes activities like planting native species, controlling invasive species, and creating suitable conditions for natural recovery.

c) Assisted Migration: In response to climate change, some restoration efforts involve moving species to new areas where they are expected to thrive as their original habitats become less suitable.

d) Reintroduction of Keystone Species: Reintroducing keystone species, which have a disproportionate impact on the ecosystem, can be essential for restoring ecological processes.

e) Captive Breeding: In cases where species are critically endangered, restoration may involve breeding in captivity and releasing individuals back into the wild.

f) Hybrid Approaches: Combining multiple approaches, such as passive and active restoration, can be most effective in some cases.

Q7) Write short notes on any two of the followings.

a) Environmental management standards

Ans) Environmental management standards are established guidelines and frameworks that organizations and businesses use to systematically manage and reduce their environmental impacts. These standards provide a structured approach to environmental stewardship, helping organizations minimize their ecological footprint, comply with regulations, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Some well-known environmental management standards include:

ISO 14001: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 standard sets out the criteria for an effective Environmental Management System (EMS). It helps organizations identify and manage their environmental aspects, set objectives and targets for improvement, and ensure legal compliance. ISO 14001 certification is recognized worldwide.

EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme): EMAS is a voluntary environmental management system for organizations in the European Union. It emphasizes continual improvement and transparency in environmental performance and requires periodic third-party verification.

BS 8555: This British Standard provides a phased approach to environmental management for smaller organizations. It is designed to help them gradually implement an EMS at their own pace.

Ecology: Ecology is a certification program that identifies products and services that meet specific environmental standards. It covers a wide range of industries and helps consumers make eco-conscious choices.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a widely recognized rating system for green building design and construction. It evaluates the environmental performance of buildings and offers certification at various levels.

Q7. b) Sustainable solutions to environmental Problems

Ans) Sustainable solutions to environmental problems are essential for addressing the growing threats to our planet's health and well-being.

Renewable Energy: Transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower can reduce carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, mitigating climate change.

Energy Efficiency: Improving energy efficiency in industries, buildings, and transportation reduces energy consumption and emissions while lowering costs.

Reforestation and Afforestation: Planting and conserving trees can sequester carbon, enhance biodiversity, and prevent soil erosion.

Waste Reduction and Recycling: Reducing waste generation and promoting recycling and composting can minimize landfill use and resource depletion.

Circular Economy: Embracing circular economy principles encourages product design for reusability and recycling, reducing waste and resource consumption.

Green Transportation: Promoting public transportation, electric vehicles, and active transport (e.g., cycling, walking) can lower emissions and alleviate traffic congestion.

Sustainable Agriculture: Implementing sustainable agricultural practices like organic farming, crop rotation, and agroforestry can reduce soil degradation, water pollution, and chemical use.

Conservation and Protected Areas: Preserving natural habitats through conservation efforts and creating protected areas helps safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems.

Water Management: Responsible water use, efficient irrigation techniques, and the protection of watersheds are vital for ensuring clean and accessible water resources.

Eco-friendly Technologies: Advancing green technologies, such as eco-friendly materials and low-impact manufacturing, can reduce pollution and resource use.

Sustainable Fisheries: Implementing responsible fishing practices and protecting marine ecosystems can ensure fish stocks for the long term.

Education and Awareness: Raising public awareness and educating individuals about sustainable practices fosters a culture of environmental stewardship.

Policy and Regulation: Governments can enact and enforce policies that incentivize sustainable practices, such as carbon pricing and emissions regulations.

Collaboration and Innovation: Partnerships between governments, industries, and NGOs can drive innovation and collaborative efforts to address global environmental challenges.

Q8) Give definition, concept and milestones for education for Environment and Sustainable Development.

Ans) Education for Environment and Sustainable Development (EESD) is an educational framework that aims to promote environmental awareness, sustainable practices, and responsible citizenship. It encompasses a range of learning experiences, from formal classroom instruction to informal, lifelong learning, with the goal of equipping individuals with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to address environmental challenges and contribute to the sustainable development of societies.

Holistic Learning: EESD goes beyond traditional environmental education by integrating ecological, social, and economic dimensions. It emphasizes a holistic understanding of the environment and the interconnectedness of environmental, social, and economic systems.

Interdisciplinarity: It encourages the inclusion of environmental and sustainability themes across various academic disciplines, fostering a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and solving complex environmental issues.

Experiential Learning: EESD often involves hands-on, practical experiences, field trips, and community engagement to facilitate a deeper understanding of environmental issues.

Values and Ethics: EESD places a strong emphasis on instilling values, ethics, and responsible citizenship, encouraging individuals to make sustainable choices and take action to protect the environment.


a) UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972): This conference laid the foundation for international environmental policy and called for environmental education as a means to address global environmental challenges.

b) Brundtland Report (1987): The report introduced the concept of sustainable development and emphasized the need for education to promote sustainability. It defined sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

c) Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992): The summit marked a significant milestone, leading to the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, and the Convention on Biological Diversity. It also emphasized the role of education in advancing sustainability.

d) UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014): This decade-long initiative sought to promote EESD worldwide and led to the development of the Global Action Program on ESD.

e) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically targets quality education, highlighting the importance of EESD in achieving sustainable development.

f) Global Action Program on ESD (2015-2019): This program aimed to further integrate EESD into education systems and policy frameworks, emphasizing its role in achieving the SDGs.

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