During the Anthropocene, ongoing rapid environmental changes are exposing many species to novel resources. However, scientists’ understanding of what novel resources are and how they impact species is still rudimentary. Here, we used a resource‐based approach to explore novel resources. First, we conceptualized novel resource use by species along two dimensions of novelty: namely, ecosystem novelty and resource novelty. We then examined characteristics that influence a species’ response to a novel resource and how novel resources can affect individuals, populations, species, and communities. In addition, we discuss potential management complications associated with novel resource use by threatened species. As conservation and management embrace global environmental change, it is critical that ecologists improve the current understanding of the opportunities and risks that novel resources present to species conservation.