Sad, but true – there is an increasingly significant loss of vegetation cover which is being replaced by bare ground. Perhaps unsurprisingly to geographers, 35% of the new bare ground is in China due to rapid urbanization and transportation developments, whereas in the US (#2 with 17% of the increase) much of the loss is due to resource extraction.
Visit the NASA EO Image of the Day page to see detailed maps and a more complete analysis.
By the way – if you are not already familiar with the NASA Earth Observatory website, do have a look. It is a fascinating examination of the world using remote sensing techniques along with insightful features and global maps.