Soil and water bioengineering is a technology that encourages scientists and practitioners to combine their knowledge and skills in the management of ecosystems with a common goal to maximize benefits to both man and the natural environment. It involves techniques that use plants as living building materials, for: (i) natural hazard control (e.g., soil erosion, torrential floods and landslides) and (ii) ecological restoration or nature-based re-introduction of species on degraded lands, river embankments, and disturbed environments. For a bioengineering project to be successful, engineers are required to highlight all the potential benefits and ecosystem services by documenting the technical, ecological, economic and social values. The novel approaches used by bioengineers raise questions for researchers and necessitate innovation from practitioners to design bioengineering concepts and techniques. Our objective in this paper, therefore, is to highlight the practice and research needs in soil and water bioengineering for reconciling natural hazard control and ecological restoration. Firstly, we review the definition and development of bioengineering technology, while stressing issues concerning the design, implementation, and monitoring of bioengineering actions. Secondly, we highlight the need to reconcile natural hazard control and ecological restoration by posing novel practice and research questions.
- natural disasters
- soil bioengineering
- geotechnical engineering; transportation; building information modelling; earthworks; buried services