Resilience theory is increasingly applied to the management of global change impacts. There is growing concern, however, that misapplications of resilience-based management (RBM) can sometimes lead to undesirable outcomes. We address here an inescapable conundrum in the application of resilience theory: systems will need to track environmental change, but management that aims to support adaptive capacity can introduce undesirable levels of change. We provide a framework that links concepts from novel ecosystems and resilience theory to inform management of ecosystem change. We highlight that resilience-based applications need to address risks associated with novel human impacts to improve management outcomes.