Presented are the results from taking an inventory and analyzing the land cover transformation during 2001–2012. The study revealed 246 types of transitions between land cover classes according to the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, including 229 types of changes with a change of land cover classes. The density of changes is highest in the taiga and steppe zones of Eurasia and North America, savannas and woodlands of Africa and South America, the Arctic tundras of North America and Eurasia. It was found that the natural zones with a complex structure of land cover (open woodlands, shrublands and savannas of the tropical belt and hard-leaved summer-dry open woodland and shrubs of the subtropical belt) have the largest number of transition types (17) and types of changes (10 and 8, respectively). The contribution from the particular transformation processes to the structure of land cover changes within the natural zones was calculated to show the principal land cover trajectories for each natural zone. The findings provide a means of assessing the degree and nature of land cover transformation within the natural zones and identifying, on this basis, the leading land use trends which would have a considerable influence on the structure and dynamics of present-day land surface landscapes across the globe.Keywords: global land cover, natural zone, geospatial data, type of transition, type of changes, transformation processes.