Ecological networks facilitate the mobility and vitality of species populations by providing a network of habitat patches that are embedded in a traversable landscape matrix. Climate change and land-use change pose threats to biodiversity, which can potentially be overcome by ecological networks. Yet, systematic assessments of ecological network performance under conditions of climate change and land-use change are rare. In this special issue we explore and evaluate approaches to assess the functionality of ecological networks under scenarios of global change. Hereby we distinguish three research fields: dynamics in the spatial configuration of networks; changes in the abiotic conditions within networks; and population viability and mobility of species within the networks. We present novel approaches for each of these themes, as well as approaches that aim to combine them within one modelling framework. Whilst the contributions featured all show promising developments towards the goal of ecological network performance under conditions of global change, we also see challenges for future research: the need to achieve (i) better integration between the three research fields; (ii) better empirical grounding of theoretical models; and (iii) better design of scientific models in order to assist policymaking.