Educational approaches help bridge perception gaps of invasive alien species (Mikania micrantha) between managers and non-managers.
Invasive alien species (IAS) significantly impact biodiversity, human health, and economies, and considerable resources are often used to manage their spread. Few studies have focused on the human perception of IAS management, and little is known about approaches to improve stakeholder perception. This study examined perception gaps between managers and non-managers of a notorious weed Mikania micrantha and the preference for educational approaches to bridge those gaps. Household questionnaires and key informant interviews were conducted in the China-Myanmar Border Region (China), and ordinal logistic regressions and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used in statistical analyses. We found a high level of perception of M. micrantha among stakeholders, and a significant influence of socio-demographic factors including gender, educational level, ethnic group, and geographical location. Scores of the identification, damage, control measure, and manual treatment of M. micrantha were significantly higher for managers than those for non-managers, indicating that there were certain perception gaps between two stakeholder groups. Nine educational approaches were identified as being effective in improving stakeholder perception of IAS, of which training workshops were mostly preferred, followed by brochures (or leaflets) and other promotional materials. Additionally, we propose that well-designed and well-conducted educational approaches would benefit stakeholder perception of IAS, and that integration of IAS management into a comprehensive rural development scheme would improve its long-term performance in marginalized rural communities.