Basic elements of geomorphology are covered first in the chapter to provide context for a review of soil bioengineering designs. Old and new approaches are referenced with an emphasis on a systems orientation and energy causality. Next, basic concepts of soil engineering are introduced. Like other forms of ecological engineering, this discipline represents a new way of thinking, even though some of its ideas can be traced back to Europe in the 1800s and to the Soil Conservation Service in the 1930s in the U.S. Advantages and disadvantages of soil bioengineering designs are mentioned. The philosophical implications of the field are covered, including possible connections to Eastern religions. Finally, four case studies are included which add detail to the review. The self-building behavior found in several ecosystems is highlighted as a special feature appropriate for ecological engineering designs.
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