Turkey's forests have been continuously facing conversion into both agriculture and pasturelands, causing not only degradation and fragmentation of forested lands but also negative changes in soil properties that have not been thoroughly investigated. In order to determine possible changes in some physical and hydrophysical soil parameters along with the dispersion ratio between natural coppice forests and the neighbouring forest-to-grassland converted areas, a foothill of Mount Sacinka in Artvin was chosen as a research area. Besides land use, possible effects of elevation change on soil properties due to the mountainous and moderately steep landscape of the region were also taken into consideration. The soil samples were analysed for soil texture, permeability, field capacity, bulk density, organic matter, pH and dispersion ratio. The results indicated that whereas permeability (43.05 mm h-1 in forest and 18.82 mm h(-1) in pasture), field capacity (43.45% in forest and 38.08% in pasture) and organic matter (6.36% in forest and 5.34% in pasture) values turned out to be higher in forest soils, bulk density (0.91 g cm(-3) in forest and 1.06 g cm(-3) in pasture) and pH (5.89 in forest and 6.55 in pasture) values were low in grassland soils, meaning that conversion has negative effects on soil properties. Additionally, the mean dispersion ratios of 27.55% and 33.58% for forest and pastureland soils, respectively, indicated soil erosion problems in both land uses. In addition, as for elevation effect, forest soils especially showed better characteristics at higher elevations with high permeability, field capacity and organic matter and low pH and dispersion ratio. Copyright (C) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.