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Appendix S1. Mean coefficient of variation (in per cent for plant cover estimated by visual estimates and step pointing (only Scotland) in four large sections (>100 m2). Only species seen by all botanists or overlooked by only one are considered in this mean.

Appendix S2. Numbers of cells in which species were recorded in the SQ2 quadrat by eight observers at the Scottish site.

Appendix S3. Numbers of cells in which species were recorded in the SQ2 quadrat by eight observers at the Swiss site.

Appendix S4. Mean coefficient of variation (percentage) for frequency counts and visual cover percentage cover in 1 m × 1-m quadrats. Only species seen by all botanists or overlooked by only one are considered in this mean.

Appendix S5. Statistical power values (percentage) at 5% significance level for various combinations of initial cover and relative change based on visual estimates of plant cover and step pointing in the four large sections (100 m2). These values are based on the same data as Table 3 but the predicted variance from the model is reduced by a factor two to simulate the effect of using considerably more consistent observers (e.g. after training).

Appendix S6. Statistical power values (percentage) at 5% significance level for various initial frequency and change combinations based on pooled species frequencies in 100 cells nested in 1 m × 1-m quadrats. These values are based on the same data as Table 6 but the predicted variance from the model is reduced by a factor two to simulate the effect of using considerably more consistent observers (e.g. after training).

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