A £5m project to save Peak District ravine woodlands will experiment with using drones to plant trees on the steep, rocky slopes.
The Life in the Ravines project, led by Natural England (NE), aims to tackle ash dieback and restore woodlands.
The Peak District is dominated by ash so without intervention the area could be devastated by the disease, said NE.
Joe Alsop, from NE, said planting using drones had not been done on any of its sites in the Peak District before.
The project will focus on several woodlands and there are plans for about 200,000 trees to be planted.
Mr Alsop, senior reserve manager at the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve, said the drone planting trial would be done towards the end of the five-year project, probably in 2024 or 2025.
He said tree seeds would be wrapped in a small ball of fertilizer and specially-adapted drones would broadcast them on the planting site.
“We will probably trial it on a range of different sites where planting will be really challenging,” he said, adding the use of drones was “experimental”.
“We don’t know how effective it will be,” he said. “We are not relying on it.”
Mr Alsop said he understood drone planting had been done elsewhere in the UK but he did not believe it had been done in the Peak District before.
NE said the ravine forests of the Peak District have high levels of ash dieback infection and have lost mature trees.
The organisation said although lime and wych elm trees are being planted in the spaces when ash have died, they won’t give up on ash and will find species that might be resilient to the disease.
The project has received £3.6m in funding from the EU Life programme, as well as funding from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, the National Trust and the Chatsworth Estate