Lewis McGugan scored for the second league game running to give Forest a 17th-minute lead and on-loan Chelsea defender Sam Hutchinson netted his first senior goal after 75 minutes.
An own goal by Reds goalkeeper Lee Camp two minutes from time set up a nervy finale for the hosts but they saw out the remaining time to seal a deserved win.
Six goals were scored on a chaotic afternoon at Elland Road and £8million striker Jordan Rhodes was not involved in any of them as Leeds and Blackburn shared the points in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Scotland international Rhodes was handed his Blackburn debut after his big-money move from Huddersfield on Thursday, and must have been banking on a goal as Leeds parted to allow Markus Olsson and Nuno Gomes to put his new side 2-0 up with 27 minutes gone.
But Leeds quickly discovered Blackburn's soft underbelly - their defence - and started to bombard them with high balls, none of which they dealt with, as goals from El Hadji Diouf, Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio made it look as though Rovers boss Steve Kean would have been better served spending Rhodes' fee on some centre-halves.
Ruben Rochina rode to the rescue for Blackburn, though, preserving their unbeaten start to life back in the second tier with a cute backheel that earned his side a point with six minutes left, although that would have evaded them had Diouf converted a 95th-minute sitter.
Craig Mackail-Smith showed exactly why Premier League clubs were chasing him in the transfer window with a stunning double to fire Brighton to a 3-1 victory at Burnley.
The Scotland international opened the scoring with a fine strike from the edge of the area and then scored a stunning over-head kick from inside the area in the second half.
Gordon Greer's late header earned a deserved three points for the Seagulls, who are now unbeaten in their last three games. For Burnley, who had levelled through Greer's own-goal after 60 minutes, it was a third game without a win.
Hull's new boys proved the difference as Steve Bruce's side put their recent woes in front of goal behind them to claim a 3-1 win against Bolton as Sone Aluko, Abdoulaye Faye and Stephen Quinn all found the net at the KC Stadium.
Bolton had taken a 17th-minute lead through Chris Eagles, as his 35-yard free-kick took a heavy deflection on its way past Ben Amos in the Hull goal.
But Hull levelled 12 minutes later as Robert Koren provided the assist for Aluko to strike his first goal for the Tigers following his summer move from Rangers. The hosts took the lead within a minute of the restart as Faye headed home Quinn's corner to score his first goal for the club. And it was 3-1 three minutes later as Quinn hit home from close range following good work from Jay Simpson.
Glenn Murray scored twice as Crystal Palace brought Sheffield Wednesday's remarkable unbeaten streak to an end with a 2-1 win.
Murray, back in the Eagles team after injury, fired them ahead after just 30 seconds and secured a surprise victory seven minutes from time after Michail Antonio had equalised.
Murray's winner meant Dave Jones tasted defeat for the first time in 18 matches since he took charge of the Owls back in March.
Andy Keogh scored twice as Millwall registered a 3-1 win against Middlesbrough.
Skipper Liam Trotter got the ball rolling with a precise 20-yard effort in the 25th minute and Keogh got his first of the afternoon and the season 10 minutes later when he reacted quickest to his shot thundering into the post.
Boro, who started the day in the top six, gave themselves hope before half-time through Marvin Emnes' second of the season, but Keogh's second from close range in the final five minutes made sure of the points for the Lions.
Conor Sammon scored his first goal for Derby on his home debut as the Rams took advantage of Watford's defensive frailties to claim an emphatic 5-1 win - their first victory of the season.
Rams skipper Richard Keogh headed his side in front and Watford's vulnerability in the air was evident once again when midfielder Jeff Hendrick headed home a second goal.
Sammon was a handful in his first home appearance for Nigel Clough's side since his £1.2million move from Wigan and he added a third goal just before half-time.
Highly-rated midfielder Will Hughes added Derby's fourth goal just after the break, his first goal for the club, and the lively Jamie Ward made if five with his first of the season.
Matej Vydra grabbed a consolation for the Hornets, but the damage had already been done and the victory could have been even more comfortable for the Rams.
Jacob Mellis scored the only goal of the game as a makeshift Barnsley side kept free-scoring Bristol City at bay to secure their second win of the season.
James Vaughan missed a penalty to go from hero to villain as Huddersfield were denied all three points in a 2-2 draw at Ipswich.
Midfielder Adam Clayton crashed in the opening goal from the edge of the box after the hosts had failed to clear their lines to give Huddersfield the half-time lead.
But the Tractor Boys hit back in the second half when captain Luke Chambers, a summer recruit from Nottingham Forest, poked in his first goal for the club after Darryl Murphy had headed the ball back to him.
Michael Chopra produced a clinical finish to edge the hosts in front, but striker Vaughan soon levelled matters before being presented with a golden opportunity to seal all three points seven minutes from time when Huddersfield were awarded a controversial penalty. Vaughan saw his first spot-kick saved by Scott Loach but thought his follow-up effort had gone in as it hit one post before rolling along the line and striking the other. Referee Mick Russell thought otherwise and the game ended all-square.
Birmingham recorded their first victory of the season, winning 1-0 against a Peterborough side who remain without a point to their name.
And Blues' first-half winner came courtesy of a bizarre own goal from Robert Olejnik, with the Posh goalkeeper seeing his attempted punched clearance from Wade Elliott's free-kick go horribly wrong and end up in his own net.
And in the late kick-off, Ben Marshall's second-half penalty was enough to end Blackpool's perfect start to the season and arrest Leicester's losing run as the Foxes emerged 1-0 winners at the King Power Stadium.
- Jordan Rhodes