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The "paradigm shift" in natural resource management away from state-centred control toward community-based approaches in which local people play a much more active role is situated within the theoretical framework seeking to empower local communities through decentralization policies. This study examines the organizational framework within which decentralization is implemented using a case study from southern Zimbabwe. At the local level there is a complex interface between traditional and modern authority structures, with both complimentary and conflicting jurisdictions and mandates. Given this multiplicity of organizations, the study advocates for systematic examination of appropriate organizations to be involved in the decentralization process.