The Cape floral kingdom or fynbos is the characteristic shrubland of the mountains and coastal lowlands of the southwestern and southern Cape of South Africa. It is of relatively minut extent and a large proportion of species in the fynbos flora have tiny ranges and exist in small populations. They are threatened principally by housing and development, pollution, agriculture, fragmentation, changed fire regimes, and the rampant spread of alien trees and shrubs.
It is estimated that 75% of South Africa's rare and threatened plants are found in the fynbos. The Cape Flats, an area under intense housing development, has the highest concentration of plant species in the Red Data Book. Overall 1,406 plant species are considered to be facing extinction.
The conservation status of fynbos is most critical on the lowlands, where only a very small part of the natural vegetation remains. Only about 5% of the total area of land in the fynbos that enjoys any formal conservation status is in the lowlands. Much more intact vegetation remains in the mountains which are not suitable for intensive agriculture and a large proportion of this land enjoys some form of protection. Invasive alien plants pose the greatest immediate danger to biodiversity in the fynbos. Thickets of Australian acacias and hakeas and forests of exotic pines cover thousands of hectares of fynbos. These stands suppress the native plants, destroy habitat for native animals and alter fire regimes.