A history of agricultural production is proposed for Neolithic Çatalhöyük East, central Turkey, using archaeobotanical, environmental, population and settlement studies. In the aceramic early phase of site occupation, intensive strategies developed as changes in population and environment caused stress on food supplies produced within a limited territory. Food exchange may have been part of the social means by which Çatalhöyük and nearby contemporary settlements amalgamated into the single site of the main occupation phase. Population change, inherited territories and continuing environmental impact led to the development of an extensive system of agriculture using widely dispersed dry soils, with an intensive regime applied to nearby alluvial soils. Social tensions caused by the evolution of this system contributed to the fissioning of the site by the Chalcolithic.