To each his own. The problem with same yueld tiles vs forests is that going forests in SMAC is a sub par choice that can frequently leave you energy starved.
SMAC had a huge problem wtih crawlers breaking the economy, so the forests were a roleplaying choice more than an actual good way to play the game.
In BE there is only one good way to play and that is spam trade routes and plop down farms.
My point was that there are very few terraforming options in BE. But since you don't like SMAC this doesn't appeal to you.
Er . . . what? I love SMAC. It's on my computer at this very moment, unofficial patch and all. Didn't you catch me making SMAC jokes with Aeson?
And you've honestly never heard of Forest And Forget as a terraforming strategy for SMAC?
Now, as to your point:
In BE, we have (assuming flat terrain with no resources, since Alpha Centauri limited different terrain types to a few special sections of the map and didn't have special resources as such):
But wait! There's more! You can customize the terrain with the following:
2) Weather Controller
3) Orbital Fabricator
4) Solar Collector
What's more, each improvement can come in a Miasmic and non-Miasmic version, depending on who or what you want walking through it.
I'm honestly not understanding how nine basic options, with four additional yield improvements, plus the miasma or not choice equals "very few terraforming options."
Unless you're talking about the difference between "AC's terraforming didn't really matter because of supply crawlers" vs "BE's terraforming doesn't really matter because of trade routes," in which case I'm not seeing too great a difference in design philosophy, except that trade routes are likely to be nerfed.
P.S. I didn't mention the more military-oriented satellites because they straddle the line between military unit and terrain alteration.