A new paper on ecosystem services in the Big Ben region of the Chihuahuan Desert was recently published in the journal Ecosystem Services.
Title: Ecosystem services of the Big Bend region of the Chihuahuan Desert
Authors: Nathan T. Taylor, Kendall M. Davis, Helena Abad, Maureen R. McClung, Matthew D. Moran
Abstract: Ecosystem services estimates have not been published for some biomes, notably desert ecosystems. The Chihuahuan bioregion, which is the largest desert in North America, exhibits high biodiversity and important cultural significance for parts of Mexico and the United States.With low levels of development, the Big Bend region is a relatively unmodified ecosystem, which makes it a good representative landscape to study desert ecosystem services. We found that this region has $504 (2015 USD) of annual value per hectare ($1.61 billion for entire study area), with raw materials, climate regulation, ornamental services, and cultural services contributing the most value. This estimate is markedly lower than published values for other terrestrial biomes, which is not surprising considering deserts are low productivity environments. However, given the size of the Chihuahuan Desert, the ecosystem services value for the entire bioregion is likely considerable. The Chihuahuan Desert is facing numerous threats, including energy development and overuse of natural resources. Projected growth in oil, gas, and wind energy could further degrade the services provided by this region. The relatively low ecosystem services values for this desert environment also indicate that the widespread desertification occurring globally is causing large decreases in ecosystem services across many landscapes.
You can find the full article here.