Late substitute Steve Sidwell secured all three points for Chris Hughton’s men after Lewis Dunk’s first-half opener was cancelled out by Forest striker Dexter Blackstock minutes after the interval.
The win helps Brighton maintain their hunt for automatic promotion, while defeat for Forest leaves them in a lowly 20th position and nine points clear of the Championship’s bottom three.
Writing on Twitter after the game, Sky Sports commentator Danny Higginbotham felt defeat was harsh on Forest but once again highlighted Brighton’s ability to get the job done.
Brighton’s victory was their 21st of the campaign, and incredibly their 18th by a one-goal margin.
While the Seagulls have quality in their ranks, they find themselves chasing automatic promotion largely due to their never-say-die attitude and ability to grind out victories despite not being on top.
Forest can count themselves unlucky, as following a fairly bland first-half they upped the ante after the break and dominated the visitors with Henri Lansbury and Dexter Blackstock both missing when well-placed.
It appeared the game was heading for a stalemate, yet Anthony Knockaert’s mazy dribble from the right found its way to the unmarked Sidwell near the penalty spot and the former Reading man drilled home.
Brighton now move up to 78 points, one shy of second-placed Middlesbrough who face Reading on Tuesday.