We investigated whether the impact of conservation science is greater for research conducted in countries with more pressing conservation problems. We quantified research impact for 231 countries based on 2 citation metrics (mean cites per paper and h index) and fitted models predicting research impact based on number of threatened bird and mammal species (as a measure of conservation importance of a country) and a range of demographic variables. Citation rates of conservation research increased as a country's conservation need increased and as human population, quality of governance, and wealth increased. Even after accounting for these factors, citation rates among regions and countries within regions varied significantly. The conservation research community needs to consider ways to begin addressing the entrenched disadvantages some countries have when it comes to initiating projects and producing high-quality research.