You can use paints, stains and natural oils (all film forming) or Cutek CD50 Penetrating Oil & Finish for Wood (non film forming),
Most paints and stains encapsulate the timber to stop the movement of moisture into and out of the wood. Some claim to be resistant to UV light and not break down in sunlight.
By placing a film or coating over the surface it will work only until the film is broken by exposure to the elements i.e. wind, rain and sun (UV). When moisture penetrates the film, hydrostatic pressure will cause it to peel and flake off. The free moisture movement into and out of the wood creates stains, rot and decay and timber instability from the cells swelling and contracting.
Oils have been used for years to protect wood. Nearly all work by cross linking close to the surface to provide a barrier, similar in effect to film forming products. Some oils provide nutrients that support the growth of fungi, mould and bacteria, the thriving of which results in unsightly stains rot and decay.
Cutek CD50 Penetrating Oil Finish for Wood is non film forming. It migrates deeply into the timber where it works from within. There is no film to break down.